Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc resigned on Tuesday (17 January) after the ruling Communist Party accused him for “violations and wrongdoing” by officials under his leadership, becoming the most senior member of the government to quit following a series of high-profile corruption scandals.
His resignation was announced during a meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, according to the state-run Vietnam News Agency, “to consider and express opinions on Comrade Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s wish to stop holding positions, quit work, and retire.”
The government said that Phuc was responsible for the wrongdoings of multiple officials, including two deputy prime ministers and three ministries.
A statement explained that he had submitted to resign after becoming “fully aware of his responsibilities before the party and people.”
There has been widespread speculation that he could step down from office following the dismissal of two deputy prime ministers who served under him in January. This comes as the party’s long-serving leader, Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, who won a third five-year term in 2021, doubles down on a “blazing furnace” anti-graft campaign.
The party claims that 539 members, including ministers, top officials, and diplomats, were prosecuted or “disciplined” for corruption and “deliberate wrongdoings” last year.
After serving as prime minister for two terms (2016 and 2021), Phuc, 68, was elected president by Vietnam’s National Assembly, one of the “four pillars” of the country’s political system.
He saw the economy grow by an average of 6% per year during his time as prime minister, and he also helped advance a liberalization drive by negotiating trade treaties with the European Union and other Pacific nations.