Parliament set to select Vietnam’s new president early next week

By Viet Tuan   October 16, 2018 | 08:27 am PT
Parliament set to select Vietnam’s new president early next week
A Vietnamese national flag is seen at the Flag Tower of Hanoi in a file photo by Reuters.
Vietnam's National Assembly is scheduled to elect the country's new head of state at its upcoming session.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Tuesday, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, General Secretary of the assembly, said the presidential election is among new items added to the agenda for the parliament’s 6th session that opens next Monday morning.

The election will be held at the start of the session to make it convenient for the discussions of matters under the president's jurisdiction, Phuc said.

According to the schedule, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will announce the list of nominated presidential candidates on Monday afternoon for members of parliament to discuss the following day.

The parliament will ratify the list of presidential candidates using an electronic voting system before electing a new president by secret ballot.

Following the election, the new president would be sworn in, with the ceremony broadcast live on national radio and television.

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh is currently the acting President, serving as Vietnam's first female head of state, after President Tran Dai Quang passed away September 21 due to a serious illness.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam earlier this month nominated its General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as a candidate for the post. No other candidates have been proposed for the position.

The President is country’s top representative in both internal and external affairs and commander-in-chief of the military. Vietnam is now led by four “pillars”: its Party chief, president, prime minister and national assembly chair.

If approved, Trong will become the first Vietnamese leader to be the head of state and Party since founding President Ho Chi Minh.

Trong, born 1944 in Hanoi, served as Hanoi's Party Secretary between 2000 and 2006. He became a standing member of the Politburo, the Party's decision-making body, in 1999. In 2011, he became the General Secretary of the Party's Central Committee, and was reelected to the position in 2016.

For several years, Trong has spearheaded a crackdown on corruption that has seen scores of top businesspeople and government leaders face criminal probe or even trial over allegations of financial mismanagement and embezzlement.

"In the past, there were cases left unresolved for years, but a lot has been fixed in the past five years. Any cases that were exposed have been dealt with properly," Trong said during a meeting with constituents in Hanoi earlier this month.

In addition to the presidential election, the upcoming NA session will also discuss ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and related documents, and continued implementation of a pilot project to issue electronic visas for foreign tourists visiting Vietnam.

It is also expected to carry out procedures to officially dismiss Truong Minh Tuan from his positions as Minister of Information and Communications and approve the appointment of his replacement Nguyen Manh Hung.

Tuan has already been suspended from the post and subjected to disciplinary actions for violations in state-owned telecom giant MobiFone's acquisition of private pay TV firm AVG.

Hung, a major general and CEO of military-run telecom giant Viettel, has been serving as the acting Minister of Information and Communications since August. He has also taken over Tuan's positions as head of the ministry's Party Commitee.

Other items on the upcoming parliamentary session’s agenda include discussion and ratification of nine draft laws, commenting on another six law projects, including the amended Anti-Corruption Law, the amended Law on the People's Public Security Forces, the amended Amnesty Law, the Law on Vietnam’s Coast Guard and Law on Protection of State Secrets.

The 6th session of the 14th National Assembly is scheduled to last 24 days.

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