Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong resigns amid anticorruption campaign

Governing party says that Thuong’s ‘shortcomings’ had negatively affected the reputation of the party and the state.

Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong
Vo Van Thuong is the second Vietnamese president to resign in two years [File: Richard A Brooks/Pool via Reuters]

Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong has resigned after a little more than a year in office due to “violations” and “shortcomings”, the governing Communist Party has said.

Thuong is the second president to resign in two years amid an anticorruption crackdown that has seen several senior politicians fired and top business leaders tried for fraud and corruption.

The Vietnamese Communist Party said in a statement on Wednesday that the resignation had been accepted and that “violations and shortcomings by Vo Van Thuong have left a bad mark on the reputation of the Communist party.”

The government statement did not elaborate on Thuong’s shortcomings, but they are likely linked with the “blazing furnace” anti-bribery campaign aimed at stamping out widespread corruption.

Foreign investors and diplomats have repeatedly blamed the campaign for slowing down decisions in a country already grappling with a large amount of bureaucracy.

The president holds a largely ceremonial role but is one of the top four political positions in the Southeast Asian nation.

​​Thuong’s resignation came after weeks of rumours suggesting that he would be removed from office, and on the eve of a special session of Vietnam’s parliament dedicated to “personnel matters”.

Days earlier, Vietnamese police announced the arrest of a former head of central Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province for alleged corruption a decade ago, who served while Thuong was party chief there.

He had also been a senior party official of Ho Chi Minh City, which has been rocked by a multibillion-dollar financial scam, and for which a large trial is currently under way.

Last year, when former president Nguyen Xuan Phuc quit after the party blamed him for “violations and wrongdoing” by officials under his control, Thuong was appointed as his successor one and half months later.

​​When he took office, Thuong said he was “determined to fight corruption”, and was believed to be close to party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong – who is seen as the most powerful figure in the country.


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies