WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
Vietnam’s pandemic-response leader Phuc sworn in as president
Published: Apr 05, 2021 09:33 PM
The man behind Vietnam's successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, was formally sworn in as president in Hanoi on Monday.

Vietnam's newly elected President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (center) takes oath during the National Assembly's spring session in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Monday. Photo: VCG

Vietnam's newly elected President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (center) takes oath during the National Assembly's spring session in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Monday. Photo: VCG

Phuc, 66, was Vietnam's prime minister for the last five years, a period in which the economy boomed, and his government's COVID-19 response won plaudits at home and abroad. Following secret voting on Monday, Phuc scored the maximum votes among the almost 500-member national assembly (NA). 

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Phuc on his election as Vietnam's state president on Monday, Xinhua News Agency reported.

A resolution on electing Phuc as the new president was adopted with an approval rate of 97.5 percent at the ongoing 11th session of the 14th NA, Vietnam News Agency reported.

"This is his well-deserved award," said Nguyen Khac Giang, a Vietnamese politics expert from New Zealand's Victoria University of Wellington.

Vietnam is run by the Communist Party and officially led by the party general secretary, president, and prime minister, with key decisions made by the 18-member politburo. 

Vietnam is in the midst of its twice-a-decade leadership transition, with 76-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong reelected in January as party general secretary, the most important of the three roles.

Phuc was the only candidate nominated for president, as Trong -  who had held the presidency since 2018 after the sudden death of his predecessor - stepped down. 

The NA said earlier this was "the first time ever a prime minister was nominated to the position of the president." 

In his sworn-in statement, Phuc vowed to be absolutely loyal to the nation, the people and the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and to work hard to fulfill the duty assigned by the Communist Party of Vietnam, the state and the people.

After his swearing in, Phuc told the nation he was "lucky and honored" to be given the position, which is now only second to Trong in the power escalator.

According to Vietnamese legal regulations, the working tenure of the president and the prime minister coincides with that of the NA.
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