Sun, 05 Feb 2023

HANOI, Vietnam: Accused of "violations and wrongdoing" by the ruling Communist Party, Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has resigned.

Phuc held the largely ceremonial post of president since 2021 and is the highest-ranking official targeted by the party's sweeping corruption crackdown.

Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by four "pillars": the party's secretary, the president, prime minister and speaker of the house.

Phuc, 68, was ultimately responsible for offenses committed by many officials, including two deputy prime ministers and three ministers, the government said.

"Fully being aware of his responsibilities before the party and people, he submitted an application to resign from his assigned positions, quit his job and retire," it said in statement.

It was unclear if a replacement has been chosen.

Opinions vary on the impact of the anti-graft drive on investment and policy.

Le Hong Hiep of the Vietnam Studies Program at Singapore's ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, said the purge could pave the way for more capable leaders to rise.

"As long as the leadership reshuffles do not lead to radical policy changes, their impact on the economy will also be limited," Hiep posted on his Facebook account.

However, Ha Hoang Hop, a senior visiting fellow also at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, said Phuc's demise and uncertainty over the impact of the crackdown could unnerve investors.

"This could lead Vietnam to a time of instability that would worry foreign friends and investors," he said, as quoted by Reuters.

Despite his downfall, the government praised his achievements, particularly his pandemic response.

"He has made great efforts in leading, directing and administering the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, achieving important results," it said.

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