Vietnam's president resigns, amidst ongoing anti-corruption drive

No successor has been announced yet.

Tan Min-Wei | January 17, 2023, 06:29 PM

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Vietnam's president Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, has submitted a letter of resignation on Jan. 14.

Phuc has been president since 2021, meaning that his tenure is a few months shy of two years.

According to Reuters, Phuc's resignation was approved by the Vietnamese Communist Party's central committee. His resignation included all party positions, including as a member of the politburo.

Phuc served as Vietnam's prime minister between 2016 and 2021. The prime ministership is generally considered to be the country's top leadership role, while the presidency is considered to be a ceremonial one.

This comes as Vietnam's leadership conducts a wide ranging anti-corruption drive, having dismissed two deputy prime ministers already this year according to Reuters.

Neither appear to have been arrested or charged as of yet.

Resigned to take political responsibility

Phuc's stated reason for resigning, as reported in Vietnamese by the party's official agency,  was to take "political responsibility" for the shortcomings of several ministers who had worked under him while he was PM, including the two DPMs.

Phuc is the highest-ranking official who has resigned.

The ongoing anti-corruption drive has been characterised as a consolidation of power by the current party General-Secretary and former president Nguyen Phu Trong, according to the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

Fulcrum picked up on a footballing reference, comparing the saga to Vietnam's involvement in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup final, calling the president's resignation a "red card".

It has not yet been stated who will replaced Phuc.

Reuters reports that the Vietnamese National Assembly will hold an extraordinary meeting this week to approve his resignation.

Top image via Cia Pak/UN Photo