Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong Resigns, Latest Top Official Out amid Anti-Corruption Campaign

AP file photo
Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong addresses the media during a joint press conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after their meeting at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong resigned after a little over a year in the job, the Communist Party said Wednesday, making him the latest senior official to leave office amid an intense anti-corruption campaign.

The party approved his resignation, writing in a statement that “violations by Vo Van Thuong have left a bad mark on the reputation of the Communist party.”

Thuong, 54, became president in March 2023, two months after his predecessor Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigned to take “political responsibility” for corruption scandals during the pandemic. He was the youngest president since modern day Vietnam emerged from war in the mid-1970s.

The announcement came a day before Vietnam’s Parliament is set to meet for a special session in Hanoi, which is likely to approve the party’s decision.

The position of president in Vietnam is largely ceremonial and ranks third in the country’s political hierarchy. The most powerful position is that of Communist Party general secretary, a post held since 2011 by Nguyen Phu Trong, who is 79.

The ideologically conservative Truong was considered a protege of Trong’s, and his departure underscores the reach of the anti-corruption drive that has been Trong’s “most important legacy,” said Nguyen Khac Giang, an analyst at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

The party said that Truong’s “violations” had “negatively affected public perception, as well as the reputation of the Party and the state. Being aware of his responsibilities before the Party, the state and the people, Thuong has sent his resignation from his positions,” in a statement reported by state media VN Express International.

It’s not clear what violations the statement referred to, but Truong’s resignation took place days after Vietnamese police said they arrested the former chief of Central Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province for corruption, where Thuong was previously party chief.