VIETNAM: Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has stepped down after the ruling communist party held him accountable for “violations and wrongdoing” of officials under his control, prompting a potential power shift among the communist-run nation’s leaders.
“Fully aware of his responsibilities before the party and people, he submitted an application to resign from his assigned positions, quit his job, and retire,” the local news agency said on Tuesday, quoting the party’s influential Central Committee.
The action follows the resignation of two of his previous deputy prime ministers, signalling a major improvement in the country’s anti-corruption drive.
Phuc, a former prime minister highly recognized for expediting pro-business reforms, has served as president since 2021 and is the highest-ranking official targeted by the party’s extensive corruption campaign.
The government said that Phuc, 68, was ultimately responsible for the crimes committed by several officials, including three ministries and two deputy prime ministers. It was only now clear who would replace him.
Following the removal of two of his subordinate deputy prime ministers in January, there have been widespread rumors that he will be replaced as the party intensifies its “blazing furnace” anti-corruption campaign under the direction of its influential and long-serving leader, Nguyen Phu Trong.
Earlier this month, Trong declared that the party was “more determined,” “more effective,” and “methodical” in its strategy, and he vowed to achieve results.
Vietnam, a country that has no paramount leader, is officially led by the “Four Pillars”: the party secretary, the prime minister, the president, and the speaker of the house.
According to the party, 539 party members—including ministers, senior officials, and diplomats—were penalised or “disciplined” for corruption and “deliberate wrongdoings” last year. Meanwhile, police investigated 453 corruption allegations, a 50% increase from 2021.