Vietnamese Communists hold 13th Plenum, discussing a personnel issue

The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has started its 13th six-day Plenum with key issues including personnel work and finalizing the draft document which will be submitted to the 13th National Congress.

Vietnam Government e-newspaper said the plenum opened in October 5’s morning in Hanoi and is expected to last until October 10.

Hình ảnh này chưa có thuộc tính alt; tên tệp của nó là 2020-10-07_133947-1024x575.jpg
Overview of the 13th Plenum of the Central Committee on October 5

In this event, the CPV’s Central Committee will give opinions and consider the socio-economic situation in 2020, the socio-economic development plan for 2021; continue to improve draft documents to submit to the 13th National Congress; personnel work of the 13th Central Committee and a number of other important issues.

What is Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong directing?

General Secretary cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong, who has been having health problems for more than a year, delivered his opening speech at the conference.

In his remarks “on behalf of the Politburo, the Secretariat,” Mr. Trong “warmly welcomed members of the Central Committee, delegates attending the plenum and expressed some problem-raising and suggestive ideas for the Central Committee members to pay attention in the process of discussing, considering and deciding.”

Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong said that the conference took place in the context that the 12th term is about to end, the party units have completed their congresses at the grassroots and higher levels, and have been conducting the congress of the party committees directly under the Central Committee, progressing to the 13th National Congress scheduled for early 2021.

He also said that the whole country is promoting the important results that have been achieved, continuing to persevere and resolutely implement effectively the target of pandemic control, while focusing on socio-economic development and strive to complete at the highest level the Resolution of the 12th National Congress and socio-economic development tasks in 2020 and 5 years 2016-2020.

He emphasized: “The content of this plenum program includes very basic and important issues. It is recommended that the Central Committee members take the time to focus on research, discussion, and comments to continue to complete. review and decide at the end of the meeting.”

For more than a year, after suddenly falling ill during a trip to Kien Giang province in mid-April 2019, Trong rarely appeared in public.

Hình ảnh này chưa có thuộc tính alt; tên tệp của nó là 2020-10-07_134004-1024x559.jpg
The most recent appearance shows Mr. Trong has a tired spirit, his voice is shaking, his eyelids fall and his step is unsteady

Little is known about his physical condition. Recently, according to the Decision issued by the Prime Minister on August 24, the health of state leaders is classified as “top secret” so people cannot know.

Special cases

One of the important issues that are of great concern to the public and observers is the personnel work for the next 13th term. In which, many questions have been raised such as: “Who will replace Mr. Trong?”, “Will Mr. Trong continue to be ‘special case’ to remain in his posts?” and “Who will take the highest positions of the country?”

According to the expected personnel structure, the Central Committee in the 13th tenure will have 200 people. The number of members of the Politburo ranges from 17 to 19 and the Secretariat is from 11 to 13 people.

The age of members of the Central Executive Committee is structured with the rate of 10-15% under 50 years old, 75 to 80% from 51 to 60 years old and 10% from 61 years old and older. The alternate members must not be more than 45 years old. The person who will join the Central Committee for the first time must be young enough to serve for two terms. Re-elected to the Central Committee must be under 60 years old, and re-elected to the Politburo must be under 65 years old.

However, the Communist Party of Vietnam has a “special case” mechanism for the individuals beyond this age bracket. Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong is one of the “special cases,” though he is too old to be re-elected to the 12th term.

From this fact, the issue of “special cases” is extremely concerned by observers and the public before the upcoming National Congress.

The health of members of the Politburo is also a big problem and has caused many controversies in recent years.

In addition to Mr. Trong, in the current 12th term, Tran Dai Quang- member of the Politburo, passed away while serving as the State President.

Hình ảnh này chưa có thuộc tính alt; tên tệp của nó là 2020-10-07_134023-1024x577.jpg
State President Tran Dai Quang’s health collapsed after his visit to China, then went to Japan for medical treatment, compare the middle picture with the right picture when he was promoted as President

Member of the Politburo, Standing Secretary of the Secretariat Dinh The Huynh is also seriously ill. From July 2017 up to now, Mr. Huynh has no longer appeared in political activities. The position of his Secretariat was also assigned to Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong.

The party is too expensive

One of the prominent issues that is being concerned by the people recently is the “wasteful” currency in organizing the party congresses at all levels in preparation for the 13th National Congress.

Most recently, on the evening of October 3, Quang Tri Provincial Party Committee had to cancel the bidding package “high-class fortune-absorber and badges of the 17th Provincial Party Committee Congress.”

Hình ảnh này chưa có thuộc tính alt; tên tệp của nó là 2020-10-07_134058.jpg
Netizens compare the Party’s gifts to the delegates with high value, for example, high-class fortune pot worth VND600,000  and leather briefcase cost over VND3 million, whereas the Party gave people only one Uncle Ho’s photo is of little value

Before that, to serve the 17th Provincial Party Congress, the Office of Quang Tri Provincial Party Committee sent a notice inviting bid “high-class fortune and badges” with a package estimate of more than VND544 million. After people condemned, especially through Facebook, the province decided to cancel the purchase.

Previously, a series of provinces also offered bidding packages worth billions of VND to buy leather bags, leatherette bags and gifts for delegates, including Quang Binh province, which planned to spend VND2.2 billion to buy leather handbags. Provincial Party Committee Tuyen Quang also invited to bid for 2 bidding packages of 428 costumes for delegates with a total estimate of more than VND2.5 billion.

Commenting on this, Hung Pham Ngoc, an influential person on Facebook, wrote on his personal page: “Tuyen Quang spent VND2 and a half billion sewing clothes for a member of the provincial party congress, which is another example the party is becoming too expensive for the people.”

Entrepreneur Van Cong My questioned the case of Quang Tri province:

Through the news that the Office of the Quang Tri Provincial Party Committee has decided to cancel the package of ‘high-class fortune potter and various badges of the Provincial Party Congress …’ we are suddenly startled to think where the Communists are and what do they do in this society? Are they sitting on high, wearing luxurious clothes and … smoking, but in that vase, the sweat and tears of people do not know when they are implied turned into ‘fortune’ endlessly enjoy!”

In the context of the Covid-19 epidemic that exhausted Vietnam’s economy, the government had to increase budget spending on anti-epidemic and economic recovery, spending on activities of local party congresses was even more frustrating for people.”

Facebook Nguyen Kim commented:

In other countries there are dozens of parties but the state budget costs nothing. Vietnam has a party that costs the same amount of money as a state.”

Activist Nguyen Lan Thang commented:

How much does the Party charge its membership fee each year, but the party dares to organize the congress with a budget of up to VND40 trillion? Where would the money come from, if not from the people’s pockets?”

Hình ảnh này chưa có thuộc tính alt; tên tệp của nó là 2020-10-07_134112-1024x576.jpg
The project of the Hoa Binh provincial Party Committee spent VND11 billion to build a slogan with 11 words in Hoa Binh province has been suspended

But years ago, there was a coconut weevil (National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan) that dared to stand in the middle of the parliament and asked: What have you done for the country? (Ms. Ngan came from Ben Tre, the biggest coconut plantation in Vietnam)

Journalist Nguyen Nhu Phong, former editor-in-chief of the Petrotimes newspaper, also made a rather annoying comment: “I really cannot understand that in the context of the country struggling with epidemics, although the economy has ‘positive’ growth, most businesses are still ‘meet two ends’ and there are still tens of millions of unemployed … However, the congresses in many provinces, cities, agencies are too lavish and wasteful.

They have bought gifts clothes gauges, leather briefcases, pens, souvenir like a fortune pot … for the delegate

The conference rooms are full with flowers while streets are full of banners.

It is difficult to calculate how much money each province spends for the local congresses. And if you calculate the cost of the party congresses from the grassroot to higher levels, the spending a terrible number for sure.

At this time, the Party Congress at all levels should know to tighten their spending and must know how to get rid of expenses that are not really necessary.

But there is a feeling that many Party committees have “taken advantage of the congress” to spend money, to show off, even to get money and put in their own pockets.

Can the Party make money?

Fundamentally, the Party’s spending comes from the budget. How about the revenue from Party fees?

Because they do not make money but have the right to spend, so they dont regret.

We hope that the Party leaders have an immediate directive: Absolutely prohibit the purchase of gifts and minimize the spending for party congresses from all levels,” Nguyen Nhu Phong made a recommendation. (Translated)