Police minister becomes president of Vietnam - GulfToday

Police minister becomes president of Vietnam

To Lam

To Lam

The Vietnam Communist Party’s Central Committee has named To Lam, 66, as the new president of the country. He is the police minister. Parliament’s general secretary Bui Van Cuong said, “The Politburo hasn’t nominated a new Minister of Public Security, and therefore the National Assembly will not vote to dismiss this post during its upcoming session.”

So Lam will continue to hold the post of the police minister even as he assumes the presidency. Lam replaces Vo Van Thuong, who had resigned in March this year owning responsibility for corruption when he was party chief of an important province. Thuong became president when his predecessor, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, stepped down taking responsibility for corruption scandals during the pandemic.  Lam has also been the deputy head of the party’s anti-corruption steering committee since 2021.

The party has also named Tran Hanh Man as the new chairman of the National Assembly. Man has been serving as the vice chairman of the assembly since 2021. He was made member of the Politburo in the same year. It is speculated that Lam could take over as the party’s general secretary, the highest post in the organisation, if Nguyen Phu Trong chooses to step down before his term ends in 2026.

Trong turned 80 this April. It is Trong who has been leading a fierce campaign against corruption, which has been called ‘blazing furnace’.  The party has also appointed Tran Thanh Man as chairman of the National Assembly. He replaces Vuong Dinh Hue, who was forced to resign for “unspecified violations and shortcomings.”

Vietnam has emerged as a powerful economy in the region. The United States, which had fought a fierce, decade-long war against the communist North Vietnam from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, has now become a big business partner and investor in the country which continues to be a communist-party ruled state. Vietnam has been at loggerheads with China over South China Sea, its big neighbour to the north. The two communist states fought a short war in 1979. The US is planning to shift some of its businesses from China to Vietnam, and it has also been investing strategically in the country. The US has been looking to countries who could be allies in its contest with China over spheres of influence. And Vietnam with its intrinsic national and economic rivalry with China has turned out to be an opportune partner for the US.

Vietnam had become a relatively vibrant economy ever since the economic reforms were ushered in 1986. According to the World Bank, this has improved the per capita income which was less than $600 in 1986 to $3,700 in 2015, and economic growth has been spurred by positive growth in the agricultural sector of 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in the last three decades. Agriculture has provided 13 per cent of the 29 per cent total employment in 2021.

Vietnam aims to be a high income country by 2045, and the World Bank reckons that to achieve this goal it has to grow at 6 per cent per annum for the next 25 years. Vietnam has a population of nearly 100 million. So for many observers, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has provided political stability while adopting a market economy. It went along the lines of China.

But the CPV is forced to fight corruption, which could be blamed on the growing prosperity of the middle class and those in the upper crust of society. A similar development is unfolding in China as well. The political changes in Vietnam should not derail the economic growth of the country.


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