Vietnam’s Party chief nominated for third term
Published: Jan 27, 2021 04:28 PM

This handout photo taken on Tuesday and released by the 13th National Congress via the Vietnam News Agency shows delegates taking part in the opening session of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) 13th National Congress at the National Convention Centre in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: AFP

Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief and the architect of the country's anti-corruption campaign, has been nominated to serve a rare third term, a Party official said on Wednesday, according to state media.

On Monday, over 1,600 Party delegates of the country began nine days of meetings, mostly behind closed doors, at a five-yearly congress. 

The meetings will pick a new leadership team, aiming to bolster Vietnam's ongoing economic success - and the legitimacy of the Party's rule.

Trong, 76, who is also Vietnam's president, had been widely tipped to continue as Party chief despite health issues and old age - which should technically disqualify him for the position, although "special case" exceptions are granted.

"According to the Party Charter, members of the Central Committee up for re-election must not be over 60 and re-elected Politburo members must be under 65," delegate Hau A Lenh told the state-run Tien Phong newspaper.

"The General Secretary and President is one of the overage nominees and a special case," Lenh told Tien Phong.

Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by four "pillars": the chief of its Communist Party, a president, a prime minister and the National Assembly chair.

While ascent to the highest levels of Vietnamese politics is governed by party regulations, in reality the highly secretive process revolves around building consensus and vying for control of the powerful, decision-making Politburo.

That means exceptions to rules are often granted - particularly if consensus on the top candidates cannot be reached.