According to the Vietnam News Agency, on the afternoon of January 17, 2023 local time, the 13th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam held an interim meeting. Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc proposed to resign and retire for consideration, and agreed to resign. Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, member of the Central Committee, President of the State, Chairman of the National Defense and Security Committee, etc.
The next day, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of Vietnam announced that Vice President Vu Thi Anh Xuan would serve as the acting President until the Congress elects a new President.
The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam does not have a standing committee. Nguyen Xuan Phuc ranks second among members of the current Politburo, second only to General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam. . As the Lunar New Year in Vietnam approached, until January 16, Nguyen Xuan Phuc still publicly attended the event as the president of the country. His term was supposed to last until 2026.
The Vietnam News Agency reported that during the last term of prime minister from 2016 to 2021, Nguyen Xuan Phuc “made great efforts in leading and guiding the prevention and control of the new crown epidemic and achieved important results.” A series of cases of corruption in epidemic prevention including the corruption of aid charter flights have been gradually revealed. Political responsibility”, “deeply aware of my responsibility to the party and the people, and put forward an application to resign from the assigned position, resign from work, and retire.”
The “two deputy prime ministers” mentioned by the Vietnam News Agency are the executive deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh and deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam who had just been dismissed by a special meeting of the Vietnamese National Assembly on January 5. Among them, Pham Binh Minh ranked seventh among the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the first among the four deputy prime ministers. He was the highest-level official involved in corruption in epidemic prevention before Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigned.
On January 3, Lieutenant General Su Ensu, director of the Office of the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam, stated at a regular press conference that he will strive to end the investigation of the nucleic acid reagent case and the aid charter flight case within January. As of that date, 141 people have been prosecuted for the two cases. On the 5th, the Ministry of Public Security newly arrested Chen Yuetai, the former ambassador to Malaysia. On the 12th, Mai Tianyong, the former director of the Nguyen Xuan Phuc Government Office, was warned for “irresponsibly organizing aid charter flights during the epidemic”. According to Vietnamese official media reports, as of January 29, at least seven members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam have been punished or resigned due to corruption related to epidemic prevention.
On the second day after Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigned, on January 19, Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, pointed out at the Spring Festival gathering of the Vietnamese Lunar Year of the Cat that the anti-corruption campaign continued to advance in the past year. In the photo of the group meeting released by the Vietnam News Agency, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who has resigned, smiled and bowed to raise his glass to offer blessings to Nguyen Phu Trong. After January 17, Nguyen Xuan Phuc still appeared in the public activities of high-level Vietnamese party and government, ranking after the “Quartet”.
Representatives of the “Reformists”
On January 11, when “rumors” that he might resign had spread in Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc completed his routine work before the Lunar New Year every year: he went south to Ho Chi Minh City to visit the retired old leaders who lived here. Photos released by Vietnamese media showed that he had a happy conversation with former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
In the history of Vietnam’s reform and opening up, Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Nguyen Jin Dung are two inseparable names. From 2006 to 2016, Nguyen Xuan Phuc worked under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. He was gradually promoted from Deputy Director of the Government Office and Director of the Government Office to Deputy Prime Minister, Executive Deputy Prime Minister and entered the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam. He assisted Nguyen Tan Dung in presiding over the administrative procedures Reform, streamlining and reorganization of state-owned enterprises, and introduction of foreign capital.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, who recently resigned due to corruption issues related to epidemic prevention, was also Nguyen Tan Dung’s favorite general at the time and served as foreign minister for a long time. Ruan Xuan Phuc, Pham Binh Minh and others were classified as “Nuan Tan Dung’s faction” by the Western media, and they were also called “reformers”, “Southern faction” and even “pro-American faction”.
Most of this group of “reformists” were born or grew up in areas controlled by the former South Vietnamese government such as Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang. These areas have a vigorous market economy, are the pioneers of reform and opening up, and are also the economic and trade centers of Vietnam. Most of them are expert officials who were specially sent abroad to study after the reform and opening up in the 1990s. They are different from other high-level leaders who have been promoted from the theoretical front and the public security front.
Some commentators believe that Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Pham Binh Minh and other officials were promoted by Nguyen Tan Dung during his 10-year tenure as prime minister. Internally, they pursued a line of deepening reforms, while externally they advocated a “balanced diplomacy” strategy of strengthening partnerships with the West.
Nguyen Xuan Phuc was born during the Vietnam War and grew up in a family that participated in revolutionary activities. His hometown is Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam near Da Nang, which was controlled by the South Vietnamese government at that time. In the late 1960s, the underage Nguyen Xuan Phuc was arranged by the organization to go to the north to receive education, and then was admitted to Hanoi National University of Economics. When Nguyen Xuan Phuc graduated from university, Vietnam had been unified. He returned to his hometown, served as the leader of the local tourism and investment departments at the beginning of the reform and opening up, and got the opportunity to study in the National University of Singapore. At the same time, Pham Binh Minh went to the United States to study international relations.
When Nguyen Xuan Phuc served as Nguyen Tan Dung’s assistant and deputy, Nguyen Phu Trong, who was born on the theoretical front, became the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam at the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 2011. Before the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 2016, both Nguyen Phu Trong and Nguyen Tan Dung were over 65 years old. In the end, Nguyen Phu Trong was exempted from age and continued to serve as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, while Nguyen Tan Dung was not exempted, and his prime ministership was taken over by Nguyen Xuan Phuc. In January 2021, the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam was held, and both 76-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong and 67-year-old Nguyen Xuan Phuc were exempted from age. Nguyen Xuan Phuc was then elected President of Vietnam until his resignation in January 2023.
In the prime minister and president of the country, Nguyen Xuan Phuc is considered to have inherited Nguyen Tan Dung’s reform line. Its achievements in Vietnam’s economic reform and opening to the outside world have been highly praised by the international community. Statistics show that from 2013 to 2020, Vietnam’s economic growth has equaled the level at the beginning of the reform and opening up, and “the contribution of capital intensity to productivity growth has declined, indicating that the main engine of growth has shifted from massive investment to efficiency improvement.” “.
In this context, the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam further established the “diversification of means of production” and recognized the private economy; The focus has shifted to promoting foreign investment and promoting technological innovation and digital country transformation. Nguyen Xuan Phuc is the direct promoter and implementer of these strategies.
In terms of personnel, the Prime Minister of Vietnam will establish an advisory group of about 15 people composed of senior economic affairs officials and experts in the field of social sciences to be responsible for staff decision-making. Most of the members of Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s advisory group from 2016 to 2021 are former members of Nguyen Tan Dung’s advisory group. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs when Nguyen Tan Dung was Prime Minister, gradually grew into Deputy Prime Minister and Executive Deputy Prime Minister during the Nguyen Xuan Phuc government. Nguyen Tan Dung’s son Nguyen Thanh Nguyen also became Minister of Construction during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s tenure. Another Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam involved in the anti-epidemic corruption case, and members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Thanh Long, Zhu Ngoc Anh, Bui Thanh Son, Mai Tian Dung, etc., are also expert officials who emerged in the Nguyen Tan Dung era and were further promoted by Nguyen Xuan Phuc.