Vietnam’s National Assembly is giving the green light for President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s resignation. The approval came late yesterday after Phuc stepped down as part of an anti-corruption clean-up.
According to Bangkok Post, an extraordinary meeting saw 93% of National Assembly members voting to approve Phuc’s resignation.
His abrupt departure comes as the country is experiencing significant political upheaval as several other ministers were fired in an anti-graft purge.
As per the constitution, Vo Thi Anh Xuan, the current vice president will automatically become interim president as there is no successor appointed yet.
Phuc submitted his resignation after being found guilty of committing violations and wrongdoing against officials under him.
The Vietnam News Agency reported the resignation, citing the party’s Central Committee.
“Fully being aware of his responsibilities before the party and people, he submitted an application to resign from his assigned positions, quit his job and retire.”
The 68 year old former prime minister only held the presidential position for two years. Speculation mounted after two deputy prime ministers were dismissed earlier this month. According to the BBC, the two prime ministers and other officials are facing criminal charges. Hundreds of other Communist Party members are also reportedly under investigation.
The BBC also stated that the dismissal of officials could be part of a move by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to consolidate his authority by ousting more senior officials that are seen as being pro-Western and pro-business. Trong was given an unprecedented third term at last year’s party congress. The move is also seen by many as a power struggle at the top of the party which does not permit challenges to its monopoly on power.
Phuc’s resignation requires approval from the National Assembly. According to Reuters, the legislature is holding a rare, extraordinary meeting this week. It is not clear who will take over as president if Phuc is allowed to resign.
Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by the party’s secretary, president, prime minister and parliament chair, which are known as the four pillars.