On March 18, the Vietnam Fatherland Front held a second consultation conference to prepare a preliminary list of officials from central agencies to run for the National Assembly (NA) of the 15th tenure and named the candidates for the three highest positions of the state apparatus: State president, prime minister, and NA’s chairperson.
Tuoi Tre Newspaper announced that incumbent Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was introduced to run for the NA as a member of the State Presidency, Head of the Central Organizing Commission Pham Minh Chinh was introduced to stand for the Government block while Hanoi Party Secretary Vuong Dinh Hue was set to represent the NA in the upcoming NA’s election. The three individuals were re-elected to the party’s most powerful body Politburo in the 13th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and will take the remaining three of the four highest positions of the regime after General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected to stay in his post. Trong, who is also the State President, will hand over this post soon.
From Ho Chi Minh City, activist Pham Le Vuong Cac told VOA:
“With the way, the domestic press reports like this show the fact that almost all of the predictions of observers are completely correct about who holds which position before the vote has not taken place. This shows that the National Assembly to elect key titles is a formal election because these things are known beforehand. It was just an arrangement to divide the seats and power, not the true election.”
Previously, the 14th NA announced that it would “consolidate” these positions at the 11th session set to start on March 24, two months before the 15th NA election scheduled on May 23.
The fact that Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc will become the State President and Mr. Pham Minh Chinh will take the Prime Minister post has been predicted by Vietnamese observers for a long time, although the Vietnamese government prescribes the personnel plan for these positions is “highly confidential” information.
On February 16, the US Congress Research Service (CRS) published a report on Vietnam-US relations by Dr. Mark Manyin and Dr. Michael Martin, CRS senior Asia experts. The report included a review of the result of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party just ended the previous month.
CRS forecasts that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc may switch to the State President in May this year, and Pham Minh Chinh – head of the Party Central Organizing Commission is set to replace Phuc as the government leader.
Activist Pham Le Vuong Cac informed about Vietnam’s NA’s election of replacement personnel at the end of the term:
“Strictly speaking, the election of a new leader must be elected by the new parliament. It is against the principle that the NA elects new leaders at its end. People who are nearing the end of their term tend to act negatively.”
At the second round of consultation, the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee approved a list of 205 people from central agencies to be nominated as candidates for the 15th National Assembly.
Explaining in the Thanh Nien newspaper on March 18 that the delegates in this block were introduced in another, Mr. Hau A Lenh, vice president and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front said “The Politburo and the Secretariat announced the candidates which are under their direct management.”
“The two organizations have also determined the lists of candidates from different blocs,” Mr. Lenh added.