Education minister fares worst in house confidence vote

By Staff reporters   October 25, 2018 | 04:56 am PT
Education minister fares worst in house confidence vote
Vietnam's education minister Phung Xuan Nha. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai
Education Minister Phung Xuan Nha finished last among 48 officials who faced a vote of confidence in the National Assembly Thursday.

In voting results released by the National Assembly (NA), Nha received the highest number of “low confidence” votes among the 48.

He received 140 “high confidence,” 194 “moderate confidence” and 137 “low confidence” votes.

The confidence vote serves to “enhance the effectiveness of the NA’s supervisory functions as well as the government’s,” said Tran Van Tuy, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee. This vote has only been held three times so far, the other times in 2013 and 2014.

The vote, a secret ballot, has three types: “high confidence,” “moderate confidence” and “low confidence.” The members of parliament can choose one type of vote for each member in a pool that consists mostly of members of the executive branch of the government. This year, the pool contained 50 names in total, but the president and the information minister were not eligible to be voted on, as they took their positions very recently. An official has to hold his/her position for at least nine months to be voted on.

As such, the NA deputies voted on 48 officials including the Prime Minister, the NA Chairwoman and the Vice President. The pool was finalized by the NA through an electronic voting system Wednesday.

475 NA delegates in total voted on the pool.

If an official gets “low confidence” votes from more than 50 percent of the voting delegates, it is recommended that he or she resigns from his/her post. This year, there was no such case.

After the results were announced, Nha told the press the vote served to help officials measure their capability so that they can strive to do their jobs better.

“I see the vote’s result as a motivation for me and the ministry to do better and have better solutions to meet the people’s expectations,” he said.

This is the first time Nhan’s name was included in the confidence voting pool. His predecessor, Pham Vu Luan, received 177 and 149 “low confidence” votes in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Nha’s ministry was the epicenter of a major national high school exam fraud detected this July.

The shocking scandal was first uncovered in the northern province of Ha Giang, where the results of at least 114 students were illegally changed to increase scores in individual subjects by as much as 90 percent.

In the following months, authorities also unearthed similar violations in other provinces, prompting arrests of several officials involved in the fraud.

The scandal sparked public outrage, with many blaming the education ministry’s incompetence for allowing the fraud to happen.

Second to Nha in terms of the number of “low confidence” votes was the Minister of Transport, Nguyen Van The, with 107 votes.

At the other end of the spectrum, the NA’s Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan garnered the highest number of “high confidence” votes with 437, followed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc with 393.

Commenting on the voting criteria, NA delegate Vu Trong Kim said an official with high rating would need to do their job well and their lifestyles be “pure” and “humble.” Delegate Truong Trong Nghia said he looks to how much an official has contributed to their relevant field after assuming their positions.

“If you have been in your position for several years and nothing has changed, you don’t meet the requirement,” Nghia said.

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