Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - VN’s pandemic response leader, ex-PM sworn in as president



VN’s pandemic response leader, ex-PM sworn in as president

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former Vietnamese prime minister and newly elected President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (centre) takes an oath during the National Assembly’s spring session in Hanoi. VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY/AFP

VN’s pandemic response leader, ex-PM sworn in as president

The man behind Vietnam’s successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, was formally sworn in as president in Hanoi on Monday.

Phuc, 66, was Vietnam’s prime minister for the last five years, a period in which the economy boomed, and his government’s Covid-19 response won plaudits at home and abroad.

Following secret voting on April 5, Phuc scored the maximum votes among the almost 500-member National Assembly.

“This is his well-deserved award,” said Nguyen Khac Giang, a Vietnamese politics expert from New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington.

The country is run by the Communist Party of Vietnam and officially led by the party general secretary, president and prime minister, with key decisions made by the 18-member politburo.

Vietnam is in the midst of its twice-a-decade leadership transition, with 76-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong re-elected in January as party general secretary, the most important of the three roles.

Phuc was the only candidate nominated for president, as Trong – who had held the presidency since 2018 after the sudden death of his predecessor – stepped down.

The National Assembly said earlier this was “the first time ever a prime minister was nominated to the position of the president”.

After his swearing in, Phuc told the nation he was “lucky and honoured” to be given the position, which is now only second to Trong in the power escalator.

Politburo leaders are usually expected to retire at 65, but Vietnam has bent the age rules for both of them.

Although the presidency is largely a ceremonial role, “Mr Phuc will now be the second-ranked member in the party which makes a strong case for him to claim the general secretary post if Mr Trong has to step down earlier than expected,” Giang said.

Rumours have swirled in recent years about Trong’s health after he took a month-long absence in 2019.

According to Giang, Phuc’s experience of “well managing Vietnam’s relationship with the US under the turbulent administration of Donald Trump” will stand him in good stead for his foreign affairs responsibilities as president.

Phuc was due to designate a successor for the prime ministerial role later on April 5.

Sources said the position will be given to Pham Minh Chinh, 62, a former deputy minister of public security.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF