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Vietnam approves president's resignation amid graft purge

March 21, 2024

Vietnam's parliament has accepted the resignation of President Vo Van Thuong over alleged "violations and shortcomings." The approval, amid a corruption crackdown, came after days of speculation.

File image: Vietnam's outgoing President Vo Van Thuong addressing a meeting
Vo Van Thuong had taken the job of Vietnam's president only a year agoImage: Nhac Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images

The Vietnamese parliament on Thursday approved the resignation of President Vo Van Thuong amid a sweeping crackdown on corruption and political feuding.

Vietnam's Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan, one of the few women in senior political positions, will serve as acting president until the National Assembly chooses a full-time replacement.

Why did Vietnam's president resign?

The country's National Assembly voted to dismiss Thuong in a closed session at an extraordinary meeting, state-run Tuoi Tre news reported.

The ruling Communist Party had earlier announced that Thuong was guilty of "violations and shortcomings" and had quit after just a year in office. No details have been given on his violations since.

The departure came after several days of speculation that the 53-year-old was resigning. Last week, the Dutch royal family said Vietnam had canceled a planned state visit this week by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima due to "internal circumstances."

Corruption crackdown and political upheaval in Vietnam

Vietnam, which has long boasted stability and careful management of political change, is going through an uncharacteristic period of political upheaval.

This crackdown is believed to be orchestrated by the Communist Party's General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong — the most powerful figure in the country. 

While the president holds a largely ceremonial role, it is one of the top four political positions in the Southeast Asian nation.

Just last January, Thuong's predecessor Nguyen Xuan Phuc was also forced to resign.

Since 2021, the politburo, the party's decision-making body, has lost four out of 18 members.

Apart from political figures, a handful of Vietnam's top business leaders have been put on trial in fraud and corruption cases. One of them is even facing a possible death sentence in a $12.5 billion (€11.5 billion) bond scam case.

Is Vietnam set to replace China as the world's factory?

mk/rc (AFP, Reuters)