The personnel issues of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) continue to be the focus of public interest in Vietnam in the week prior to the 2021 Lunar New Year or Tet.
On Tuesday, from Saigon, a former head of the Vietnam National Assembly Office told the BBC that the congress was declared “very good success” but left many concerns and questions among the people and cadres and party members, especially in South Vietnam.
In an interview with BBC News Vietnamese on February 9, 2021, attorney Tran Quoc Thuan, former standing vice chairman of the Office of the National Assembly of Vietnam, first told the BBC about his impression of the congress:
“General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said that the 13th National Congress was ‘very good’ success, BBC Vietnamese recently held a post-Congress Thursday roundtable that I have followed, I see the comments of the scholars and guests to say quite fully and reasonably, but I would like to add a few more.”
“There are no nominations from Southerners for the four highest positions, and in my opinion, this is an issue that many officials, party members, and the public are concerned about and questioning.”
“This week, the party announced the assignment of Mr. Vo Van Thuong to the permanent member of the Secretariat and it is thought that it is a way to appease, by putting a figure in the South in that position.”
“But the proportion of Southerners in the leadership is very low this term, at least compared to previous tenures.”
Lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan, originally from Binh Dinh, explains why this is considered “very low”:
“The party personnel works were made a long time ago by the party’s chief and the leaders of the preparation subcommittees of the congress.”
“The party’s personnel works for sure were carried out by the general secretary with assistance from Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, head of the Party Central Organizing Commission.”
“Internal human resources need time to know better, but perhaps people can see senior officials from the Southern region having lower academic degrees compared to the Northerners.”
“Most senior party members in the South are those who graduate from university, including in-service studies, and the rate is negligible, but I think the southerners cannot get an advantage if the selection is based on academic degrees.”
“But if the selection of senior officials is based on their achievements such as management capacity which can lead to higher GDP, better life, better economic-social-cultural conditions, etc., the southerners will have better chances.”
“In the past, the southerners who became the country’s leaders, all had passed their positions in Ho Chi Minh City.”
“But this time, in Ho Chi Minh City, many local senior leaders have been disciplined and prosecuted for their economic mismanagement and corruption so I think that is also what causes a very deep impact on personnel.”
Have an objective reflection on the role of the South?
Lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan said that the South, especially the Mekong Delta, has dozens of provinces in the East and the West and that the key point in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon-Gia Dinh, has a very important position for the balanced, stable, and sustainable development of the country.
He said that to represent the party’s senior personnel as at the 13th Congress, which has just closed and recently assigned and officially announced, may raise questions, including objectivity:
“In Vietnam, there are many things that when the state-controlled media put the question, it was immediately criticized that such coverage caused ‘internal disunity’ which was ‘not good.’ In particular, the proportion of highways in the South, then investment in the South is still limited like this and that, while the export rate of the South and the region’s contribution to the state budget is very significant, but the southern region still lacks needed roads and infrastructure investment.
“But now, through the 13th Congress, we can see that the public has talked a lot, thought and wondered a lot about the layout and personnel structure to eventually lead to like that. I saw Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc going to ones and other southern regions to promote the region’s productions, the discrimination against the region remains the same.”
“So the southern region should have more voice in the country’s leadership based on its position, role, and contribution, etc.”
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev receives Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in Moscow, on December 11, 2019; Kim Ngan was said to have created an international image for Vietnam
“I don’t know how the top party leader thinks, what the advisers say, impact, or propose, the number and influence of southerners in the country’s leadership are very low, does not match with the region’s contribution to the country.”. ”
Why do the country’s four-pillar leadership have no female presence”
Continue to consider the special cases of very high-level personnel that have been arranged and the proposed structure for the “Four Pillars” at the 13th Congress is related to the “absence” of the South representative, lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan said:
“Two cases that were classified as special cases to stay after the 13th Congress in the ‘Four Pillars’ only considered men, in which one woman from the South was not considered to stay. Next, I think it’s also a strange thing.”
“I would like to mention the case of Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, incumbent Chairwoman of the National Assembly. I had about four terms of service in the Vietnamese National Assembly, two full terms, and two-part terms, I think a woman like Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan capable, sharp, steadfastly running the National Assembly. She was good in her posts and should be permitted to remain.”
“Gradually, it will shed light on the inner story, but right now, from the outside, I think that among the leaders of Vietnam today that manifest their capabilities, the executive leadership, many people agree with me that Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, a native of Ben Tre province, is a very sharp character, very good, and it would be good if she had had a chance to continue working. She should be among ‘special cases’.”