Plenum 14: When party will be more open about its personnel issues?

Party leaders and participants voted on the content of the 14th Central Conference.

There have been many personnel changes of the Central Committee for the 12th term since the closing of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) to the end of the current tenure.


The 14th Plenum of the Central Committee was closed on December 18 in Hanoi, but the results on personnel issues have not been clear and publicized for the people and officials, Vietnamese political observers told the BBC shortly after the event ended.


The list and information related to personnel issues close to the congress were made but the party still did not want to disclose it to the public, although some information was discussed informally outside the plenum. The proposal may have some reflections that seem to be true of the situation at the conference, another opinion from Hanoi in political analysts told BBC News Vietnamese on the same occasion.


First of all, from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Associate Professor Pham Quy Tho, former chairman of the Faculty of Public Policy, Institute of Policy & Development told BBC right after the 14th Plenum was finished.


The first thing that can be said is that there have been questions raised and heard in the public opinion why the leadership of the party and state, the Central Committee, cannot make the information publicly about discussed, introduced, even voted personnel issues, etc … and options after this plenum as well as throughout the process.


The Party still says that the party is open, transparent and democratic, the party is the leading force of a state of the people, by the people and for the people, and the party perceives as being from the people and out and for the people. Why the party is afraid of people, not allowing the people to be informed, discuss and inspect the party’s affairs?”


Answering these public questions which are not unreasonable, I can say that the party still seems to follow the old tradition that still keeps many secrets from the masses, the people. and even most of its officials.


I think that here, the party should have the courage to innovate many aspects of its party and leadership work, including changes such as democratization and transparency, which in my opinion will only help the party be more profitable because it will gain more trust from the public, instead of continuing the old way.”


I have studied draft party documents preparing for this 13th Congress, and I see certain changes have also been made, such as the view presented in the drafts demonstrating changed understanding about capitalism.”


I go through the documents and don’t seem to see any remarks or critique of capitalism as was the way in the past during the war and the cold war with the exception that they mention the market economy.”


So there are signs of a certain change, and I understand that change, reform may sometimes need to go step by step, but in terms of openness and transparency as the public raised at this conference and even before that, I think the party should think and do it soon.”

All three individuals in the current party and state leaders, the Government, and the National Assembly of Vietnam can all be considered “special cases” theoretically, according to observers.


A second point I would like to say is that the party announcement of the plenum was widely spread in the media, affirming that the Central Committee has ‘very highly agreed’ on this high-level personnel issue, that is related to the internally-introduced candidates for the next 13th Congress to elect to the Politburo and the Secretariat.”


I also saw the headlines saying there would be the 15th plenum and there would be more announcements at that conference, so I posed a question that if the party has reached high consensus at the 14th Plenum, then why it still needs the 15th Plenum or here is only high consensus and unanimity in certain contents, is it possible that important contents or some key decisions are not made? or are we still waiting? And I repeat that because the party has not made it public, people and groups, including observers and analysts, can hardly have information about it, not to mention, to follow, to think, etc.,” Associate Professor Pham Quy Tho told BBC from his own point of view.


Also on this occasion, from Hanoi, Dr. Ha Hoang Hop, a Vietnamese political researcher, and analyst commented to the BBC:


People actually have lists and specific information at the Plenum, but people do not want to say it publicly, in fact, someone can talk about that information, but it will be difficult to say that, because people may be asked and queried to track where the information comes from like some new checklists appear which is supposed to be ‘true’ or ‘correct’…

General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong, born in 1944, is currently the oldest person still present and working in the senior leadership of the party and state of Vietnam


However, according to what observers know, there are also many plans and scenarios on the leadership, especially for the four pillars, but the most difficult is still to predict for the General Secretary position.


Everyone also knows that Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong is very supportive of Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong, incumbent permanent secretary of the Secretariat, as General Secretary, it is a possibility.”


However, there are also proposals saying that besides Vuong, it is possible to propose Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc to be General Secretary.”


In the position of State President, in the case of those who are too old, such as Mr. Truong Hoa Binh can stand for election, if it is agreed to let him in special cases.”


What about the positions of Prime Minister and Chairperson of the National Assembly? As for the Prime Minister’s seat, for example, if Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong has been nominated as General Secretary, then there is a possibility that people will propose to be Mr. Nguyen. Xuan Phuc will be a special case of re-election to the next Politburo to remain as Prime Minister, which is a great possibility.”


I don’t see another big possibility for the prime minister and that’s personally from my point of view, I don’t see.”


It has been for a long time that there is a possibility that Ms. Truong Thi Mai might become the chairwoman of the National Assembly, but there is also information, there are also people who predict and say that it is possible that Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim remains in her current positions.”


When asked if the case becomes a special case, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong can be re-elected as General Secretary again, or what position and if so, how long will he stay (One year, or half a term) or full term, if not full term, how can it be replaced, by whom, Dr. Ha Hoang Hop replied:


This question is interesting to me here, now the most important thing in Vietnam is that the whole country must pay attention to economic construction and preserve and protect the sovereignty of the country.”


The military has an important dual role to both defend the country and the VCP, according to observers


Hence the role of the armed forces, especially the military, is of utmost importance – both defending the country and the Communist Party of Vietnam, then if in the case of Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, though has done two terms, and has nominated for more stay, that is, in a special case, if that happens, maybe he will still remain as General Secretary, but will not take long, but maybe for a short period of time, then he will transfer it to someone else.”


Why? In my opinion, because of his health problems and secondly because the General Secretary has a very important position, besides the highest leadership of the party, it is General Secretary who is also Secretary of the Central Military Commission.”


But the Secretary of the Central Military Commission is very difficult to hand over to someone who will replace Mr. Trong as General Secretary in the 13th term, and maybe people will suggest him to stay for a certain time, it may be a year, for when the conditions are ripe for handover, he will hand over the position of General Secretary to someone whom the new Central Committee of the party deems qualified and prestige to be the General Secretary of the 13th term. Well, in my opinion, is a great possibility, not to be excluded.”


By the way, I added that I feel that if Mr. Ngo Xuan Lich, the Minister of National Defense, is really healthy, he can still stay in another position, not the Ministerial position, that’s my personal opinion like that.”


Since the position of Minister of Defense in the present situation, in addition to the role of a political leader in the military, it also requires another standard so-called operational command. Maybe if Mr. Lich stayed, he might have another more important position, such as President or whatever, rather than staying for another term as Minister of Defense.”


That is in case he is strong and credible enough, but this is just a guess and we will probably have to wait until after the 15th Plenum, then most definitely to the close of 13th Congress for information, most clearly about the entire leadership team of the Vietnamese Communist Party in the coming term,” the guest senior researcher at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Ideas-Singapore) commented to BBC News Vietnamese from a personal point of view. (Translated)


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