Vietnam ousts President Phuc amid corruption crackdown

Hanoi, Jan 17, (dpa/GNA) – Vietnamese President, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has stepped down and vacated his position within the Politburo of the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party, the government said in a statement on Tuesday, following an emergency meeting.

Phuc’s ouster as president and removal from the Politburo, the most powerful decision-making body of the Vietnamese Communist Party, is a highly unusual development that comes amid a broader corruption crackdown.

Coronavirus-related scandals have embroiled numerous high-profile politicians in the country in recent weeks.

In late December, then standing deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh, was also ousted from the Politburo. Minh and then deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam, who spearheaded Vietnam’s Covid-19 taskforce, were also removed from the Central Party Committee, before “resigning” as deputy prime ministers.

Minh was deemed responsible for a corruption scandal related to repatriation flights for Vietnamese stranded overseas during the coronavirus pandemic, in which officials received bribes in return for seats on flights to Vietnam.

Dam was held to account over a Covid-19 testing kit scandal linked to Viet A company, which led to two ministers being arrested.

Having served as Vietnam’s president since April 2021 and formerly as prime minister since 2016, Phuc, who is 69, accepted responsibility for the actions of Minh and Dam, according to the statement.