The man who navigated Vietnam safely through the pandemic is nominated President

Hanoi, April 5 2021: Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the name behind Vietnam’s successful handling of the pandemic has been sworn in as president.

The 66 year old was Vietnam’s prime minister for the last five years, which constituted positive economic health. Now his response to the pandemic has won appreciation at home and abroad.

In a secret poll on Monday, Phuc scored the maximum votes among the almost 500-member national assembly which political experts deemed a well-deserved reward.

Vietnam which is run by the authoritarian Communist party is led by the party general secretary, president, PM; where the decisions are made by the politburo.

Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected the party general secretary, while Phuc was the only nominee for the President post after Trong stepped down from it.

This is the first time that a PM has been elected to the post of President and Phuc,  who is now second in power to Trong, and hence closer to the General Secretary post should Trong have to step down, says he feels honoured to have been elected. Leaders of the Politburo in Vietnam usually retire at 65 but in the case of Trong and Phuc, the rules have been bent.

Trong’s month long leave of absence in 2019, sparked rumours about the state of his health. Experts say Phuc’s experience at juggling Vietnam’s complicated relationship with the US during Donald Trump’s term will stand him in good stead for his responsibilities in the foreign affairs arena.

The Prime ministerial role which is as yet empty will have a successor designated by Phuc. The post will likely go to Pham Minh Chinh, 62, a former deputy minister of public security.

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