Vietnam votes in public security minister as president

Published May 23, 2024
TO Lam takes oath as Vietnam’s president at the National Assembly, on Wednesday.—AFP
TO Lam takes oath as Vietnam’s president at the National Assembly, on Wednesday.—AFP

BANGKOK: Vietnam’s rubber-stamp parliament voted in public security minister To Lam as the country’s new president on Wednesday, after a major anti-corruption campaign forced his predecessor to resign.

Thousands of people — including several senior government and business leaders — have been caught up in the Southeast Asian country’s “blazing furnace” crackdown on graft, led by Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Analysts have said that Lam, who is deputy head of the steering committee on anti-corruption, has weaponised its investigations to take down his political rivals. In his first remarks as president, Lam said he was “determined to fight corruption and negative phenomena”. Lam takes over from Vo Van Thuong, who resigned in March over what the party called “violations and shortcomings”, after just a year in the job.

Led by the Communist Party general secretary, Vietnam has a four-person leadership structure that also includes the president, prime minister and head of the National Assembly.

The National Assembly chairman also resigned in April over “violations and shortcomings”, meaning two of the country’s top four positions had been vacant for a month. Lam, 66, has been public security minister since 2016 and has taken a hard line on human rights movements in the communist country.

It had appeared he was set to hold the presidency and his position at the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) concurrently, which would have been a first for Vietnam.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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