By Spy Uganda Correspondent
The Communist Party of Vietnam has forced President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to resign, State media reported Tuesday.
The party’s Central Committee decided to relieve him of all duties, including membership of the Politburo and Party Central Committee, and chairmanship of the National Defense and Security Council for the 2021-2026 term, VietNamNews reported.
The Central Committee commended Phuc for leading Vietnam’s efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the final years of his 2016-2021 term as prime minister, State media said.
However, members said he needed to take ultimate responsibility for the number of Party officials, including two deputy prime ministers and three ministers, blamed for two COVID-related scandals during his time as president from 2021.
On Jan. 5, Vietnam’s National Assembly voted to replace deputy prime ministers Pham Binh Minh and Vu Duc Dam with party officials Tran Hong Ha and Tran Luu Quang.
Pham Binh Minh oversaw foreign relations during the ‘rescue flights’ affair, when officials took bribes to repatriate citizens stranded abroad during the COVID pandemic. Vu Duc Dam was deputy prime minister in charge of healthcare when the chief executive officer of healthcare company Viet A admitted bribing officials for contracts to sell substandard COVID test kits to hospitals.
The Viet A scandal also claimed the jobs of Health Minister Nguen Thanh Long, and Hanoi Mayor and former Science and Technology Minister Chu Ngoc Anh, who were arrested on June 7, 2022.
The position of president in Vietnam is mainly ceremonial.