Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigns

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The Communist Party of Vietnam has forced President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to resign, state media reported on Tuesday.

The Central Committee of the party decided to relieve him of everything duties, including membership of the Politburo and Party Central Committee, and chairmanship of the National Defense and Security Council for the term 2021-2026, Vietnam News reported.

The Central Committee praised Phuc for leading Vietnam’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the last years of his 2016-2021 term as prime minister, state media said.

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However, members said he should take ultimate responsibility for the number of party officials, including two deputy prime ministers and three ministers, blamed for two COVID-related scandals during his time as president from 2021.

On January 5, the National Assembly of Vietnam voted to replace deputy prime ministers Pham Binh Minh and Vu Duc Dam with party officials Tran Hong Ha and Tran Luu Quang.

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Pham Binh Minh oversaw foreign relations during the “rescue flights” affair, when officials took bribes to repatriate citizens stranded abroad during the COVID pandemic. Vu Duc Dam was deputy prime minister in charge of health care when the CEO of health care company Viet A admitted bribing officials for contracts to sell substandard COVID test kits to hospitals.

The Viet A scandal also claimed the jobs of Health Minister Nguen Thanh Long and Hanoi Mayor and former Science and Technology Minister Chu Ngoc Anh, who were arrested on June 7, 2022.

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The position of president in Vietnam is primarily ceremonial.