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Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong resigns amid corruption crackdown

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Hanoi (dpa) — Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong has resigned, a government statement said on Wednesday, as a country known for political stability entered uncharted territory with the departure of two presidents in just over a year.

Thuong’s resignation was confirmed following a special meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). During the session, it was agreed that Thuong would leave office and lose his position in the Politburo, the most powerful body of the Communist Party.

The decision to remove Thuong will be rubber-stamped at a National Assembly meeting on Thursday.

The statement released by the Central Committee said Thuong’s “violations and shortcomings have caused bad public opinion, affecting the reputation of the Party, the State and him personally.”

Rumours of Thuong’s impending resignation had been swirling for weeks, following the abrupt cancellation of a state visit he was due to host by the Dutch king and queen.

Thuong took up the role of president in March 2023 after the ousting of former president Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who had become embroiled in corruption scandals.

Since 2016, Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong has enacted a corruption crackdown to clean up the government, yet critics say it has been used as a tool to remove political rivals.

When Thuong assumed office, he was the youngest-ever president since the reunification of Vietnam in 1975 and was considered to be free from the taint of corruption and a potential future candidate to become General Secretary of the CPV.

Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Thuong’s vice chairman, is expected to serve as interim president until the Central Committee elects a new president, with a decision likely to be confirmed in May.

Although one of Vietnam’s top four leadership roles, the role of president is a largely ceremonial position.

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