National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan: from ultimate success to great failure

So far, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan is the first and only woman to have reached the four pillars- the four highest positions of the Vietnamese communist regime. Whether or not people loving her, everyone must admit this. That is the undeniable truth.

Ms. Ngan is the woman who entered the Politburo to the astonishment of political observers and since she joined the Politburo she has progressed very quickly and is the first woman holding one of the four highest posts of the regime, the positions that only men have held during the previous 70 years.

She was the one who grew up and received an education under the Republic of Vietnam. In 1973, she went to Saigon to attend the Saigon University of Literature, however, her education was interrupted when the communist soldiers controlled the entire southern region.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, considered the most dignified woman among senior female leaders in Vietnam

She also attended the University of Finance program now known as the Academy of Finance, achieving a Master’s degree in finance under the Communist government after 1975. The time when most people were examined and forbidden from going to college, but she received that kind of favor. This shows that her father must have a background in serving the Communist Party of Vietnam, not a commoner. Ms. Ngan’s origin problem is the issue that is being discussed widely by society.

Regarding her degree, after taking the chair of the National Assembly, Ms. Ngan was still awarded an honorary doctorate in politics by Pukyung National University, Korea on December 5, 2018.

Career advancement process, through many positions before entering the four pillars

Ms. Ngan is recognized as a beautiful woman, a rare thing among communist officials. Having both beauty and climbing up to the four pillars has made many people talk. However, the essence of the issue of advancement in the communist government is related to that individual’s red background, but very rarely related to beauty. People who climb high with their beauty often only climb to a limited position, but it is difficult to climb to four pillars.

After 1975, she started as an employee in the Ben Tre Department of Finance. Then gradually promoted from the ranks of specialist, deputy head, head of the department, deputy director, acting director, and officially appointed as Director of the Ben Tre Department of Finance in October 1991. By April 1995, she was transferred to the Central Government and was appointed as Deputy Minister of Finance.

In February 2006, she was transferred back to the position of Deputy Minister of Finance, but only 1 month later was transferred to the position of Permanent Deputy Minister of Trade.

In May 2007, she was elected a member of the 12th National Assembly. In August 2007, she was nominated and approved for the position of Minister of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs and held this position until July 2011. One of the marks Ms. Kim Ngan did while working at the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs was the rescue of Vietnamese workers in Libya in 2011.

In May 2011, she was re-elected as a member of the National Assembly in the 13th tenure. On July 23, 2011, she was nominated by the chairman of the National Assembly to be a vice chairwoman of the parliament.

That is her career, but the current status of Ms. Ngan is a big question mark. With a vague background and very high progress in the communist government apparatus, she is considered by everyone as a kind of ambiguous backgrounds like Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung in the past and similar to Mr. Vo Van Thuong today.

Which side did Ngan belong to when she joined the Politburo?

Before Ms. Ngan joined the Politburo, observers did not appreciate Ms. Ngan’s capacity. Partly because she is a woman, so people believe that she is not passionate about joining factions and fighting. However, in May 2013 at the 7th Plenum of the 11th term, she was additionally elected to the Politburo, that it was known that she belonged to the faction of Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, the most powerful Southern faction at the time.

Knowing that the plenum of that time, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong planned to bring Mr. Nguyen Ba Thanh and Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue to the Politburo. However, due to the great power of Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, his intention failed, and instead, Mr. Dung brought Ms. Ngan and Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan in. Thus, Ms. Ngan entered the Politburo not by official route but by an additional election between the terms.

By the beginning of 2016, the 12th congress took place, in this congress, it was said that before resigning from the 13th term, Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung had compromised with Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong to bring Dinh La Thang and Hoang Trung Hai to join the Politburo and arrange Ms. Ngan in one of the four highest positions.

And as agreed, on March 31, 2016, at the 11th Session of the 13th tenure National Assembly, she was elected as the chairwoman of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the President of the Election Council. In Vietnam, she became the first Vietnamese female politician to hold these positions, as well as the first person to implement the oath of office in accordance with the provisions of the 2013 Constitution. It is the culmination of glory for a woman in the state apparatus of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

The chairship of the National Assembly is considered and the pinnacle position for Ms. Ngan

In the middle of the 12th term, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong defeated Dinh La Thang and near the end of his term, Mr. Trong brought down Hoang Trung Hai to cleanse the force that Mr. Dung reinstalled. However, with Ms. Ngan, Mr. Trong did not take her down but allowed her to hold the presidency of the National Assembly until the end of his term and then withdrew. Perhaps because Ms. Ngan was a woman who was not strong enough to threaten Mr. Trong’s influence, he let her sit until the end of her term and then withdraw.

It is judged that Ms. Ngan was the last person of Nguyen Tan Dung’s faction to withdraw from politics. The old class of the Nguyen Tan Dung faction is almost no longer in the Central Committee. Mr. Dung is now building the strength of his son to develop the next class.

The last activities before the retreat.

During the 13th National Congress last year, Ms. Ngan fell from the list of Politburo members. Ms. Ngan’s political career here is considered to be over. From here until the National Assembly is elected, there are only 3 months left. Thus, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has only 3 months to finish her role as the National Assembly chairwoman and then withdraws.

Like the previous term, after the National Party Congress, the last session of the 14th National Assembly will consolidate important titles of the state apparatus.

That information has just been announced at the session of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly at the end of Feb 23 to give comments on the planned content of the 11th session of the 14th National Assembly.

It is known that the meeting is scheduled to open on March 24 and close on April 7 (extra provision on April 8), gather at the National Assembly House (there is a contingency plan in case of COVID-19 outbreaks turns bad).

The content focuses on the review of the term of the National Assembly, reviewing the summary report of the term of the Government, the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, the Director of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the State Audit, and deciding important issues.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at the National Assembly Standing Committee meeting on February 23

It can be said that the four years in the position of the highest power of Ms. Ngan will end on April 8. After that, she waits until the new National Assembly meets and she presents flowers to congratulate her successor, Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue. After the last national meeting of the 14th National Assembly, leaders of the National Assembly will also take leave according to regulations.

Failure after the 13th National Congress

Ms. Ngan was rated by observers as a capable National Assembly chairwoman. Over the past five years, she has run parliamentary meetings very well.

It is known that Vietnam’s role as chairman of the National Assembly is not the same as that of other democracies. In democratic countries, the president does not interfere with delegates’ opinion, the president’s role as the organizer of the meeting, and controversy in the presidential parliament does not interfere. However, in the Vietnamese parliament, it is completely different. The president of the National Assembly is like the group director and the meeting is like a democratic theater. Despite the questioning of the delegates, they are all state officials who are members of the Communist Party, they are like a family, not a real one for the people. All are party representatives, so we call it the play. All discussions have coincided with the previous Politburo’s decisions, not otherwise.

Although the National Assembly is essentially party like that, with 96% belonging to the party, there was some overstatement, it went beyond the party’s intentions. At that time, Mrs. Ngan will show her role, how to not let the people find out that the party suppresses opposing opinions. That is a request from the Politburo for a president of the National Assembly. And in the past 5 years, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has done well. Many people rated her as better than her predecessor, Nguyen Sinh Hung. Still, she was kicked out of the 13th Politburo.

In a country like Vietnam, the task of doing well is not sure, but it must be in a strong interest group to be empowered. Doing well but having to think that is a rather bitter failure for Ms. Ngan. However, you must understand, the rules of the game at your party are that you must accept. (Translated)

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