|New State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and new Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Photo Duc Thanh |
The National Assembly (NA) last Monday elected Vietnam’s new prime minister and new state president. The NA passed a resolution appointing Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the state president, and another resolution on assigning Pham Minh Chinh, Chairman of the Central Organisation Commission, to be the prime minister, both for the 2021-2025 tenure.
After the ballot, the new leaders took the oath of office, vowing to “be completely faithful to the country, people, and the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”.
Phuc, 67, received more than 97 per cent of the votes at a plenary session to become the 11th president since 1945, when President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He is also the first prime minister in Vietnam to be elected as state president. In Vietnam, the state president is the country’s top representative in both internal and external affairs; and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Phuc was born in the central province of Quang Nam. Between 1997 and 2006 he was Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Deputy Inspector-General of the Government Inspectorate, and Chairman of the Government Office. He became deputy prime minister in 2011 and prime minister in 2016.
Meanwhile, new Prime Minister Chinh, 63, received 96.25 per cent of the votes to become the eighth prime minister of Vietnam. Born in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, he is a member of the Party Central Committee in the 11th, 12th and 13th tenures, a Politburo member in the 12th and 13th tenures, Secretary of the Party Central Committee in the 12th tenure, Chairman of the Central Organisation Commission, head of the committee’s sub-committee for internal political protection in the 12th tenure, and an NA deputy in the 14th tenure.
The legislative body last week also elected Vo Thi Anh Xuan as the new vice state president, and new deputy prime ministers including Le Minh Khai and Le Van Thanh, besides incumbent deputy prime ministers Vu Duc Dam, Truong Hoa Binh, and Pham Binh Minh.
On March 31, professor in economics Vuong Dinh Hue, 64, who is Politburo member and Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee, became the new chairman of the National Assembly and also the chairman of the National Election Council.
Other NA new vice chairmen were then also elected, including Nguyen Duc Hai, Nguyen Khac Dinh, and Tran Thanh Man. Incumbent NA Vice Chairman Do Ba Ty will continue in his position until the 15th NA tenure.
Building on success
In early February, at the 13th Party Central Committee’s first plenum, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected as General Secretary of the Party Central Committee in the 13th tenure.
The legislature last week also saw the list of the new government cabinet members for the 2021-2025 tenure (see next page). State President Phuc said that Vietnam will continue to make new miracles on the foundation of the nation’s glorious tradition, turning the country into a prosperous and strong one.
He reaffirmed that that in the time to come, Vietnam will face opportunities and challenges at the same time, but he believed that under the leadership of the Party and with the mettle and brainpower of Vietnamese people as well as the strength of the national great unity bloc and support from international friends, “Vietnam will overcome all difficulties and successfully fulfil targets set by the 13th National Party Congress.”
During the 2016-2021 government tenure, the Vietnamese economy grew 6.8 per cent annually on average in the 2016-2019 period. In 2020, the rate reached 2.91 per cent due to impacts of the pandemic.
“The average economic growth rate in the 2016-2020 was about 5.9 per cent, making Vietnam one of the countries with the highest growth in the region and the wider world,” said a report by the Central Party Committee on assessing the results of the implementation of socioeconomic development tasks for 2016-2020 and related tasks for 2021-2025. This report was discussed and adopted at the 13th National Party Congress.
During the 2016-2020 period, Vietnam’s GDP scale continued expanding, at $271.2 billion in 2020, up over 1.4 times from 2015, with per capita GDP of $2,779 which is 1.3 times higher than that in 2015.
In the first quarter of 2021, the economy grew 4.48 per cent, and the rate is set to be about 6.5 per cent for the whole year.
Under the new prime minister’s future orientations for the nation announced last week, he underscored the need to build an action plan to translate the resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress into reality (see box).
Carlyle A. Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, said that in order to lead the government and drive the economy forward successfully, the new prime minister “will have to rely on his deputy prime ministers for their expertise in central government administration and economic policy.”
“Chinh’s immediate priorities have already been determined – defeating the coronavirus pandemic and kick-starting Vietnam’s economic recovery. The government’s development plans for the next five and 10 years have already been approved by the 13th congress,” Thayer said.
Specifically, the Central Party Committee has adopted an average annual GDP growth rate of 6.5-7 per cent for the 2021-2025 period and 7 per cent in the 2021-2030 period; a level of $4,700–5,000 in per capita GDP by 2025 and $7,500 by 2030; an average ratio of over 25 per cent for processing and manufacturing industry in GDP during 2021-2025 and 30 per cent in 2030; a ratio of 20 and 30 per cent for digital economy in GDP in 2025 and 2030, respectively; a ratio of 45 and 50 per cent for total factor productivity in economic growth by 2025 and 2030, respectively; and a rate of over 6.5 per cent in the increase of labour productivity during 2021-2030.
Vietnam has its sights on becoming a developing nation with modernity-oriented industrial development exceeding the lower middle-income level by 2025; a developing nation with modern industrial development and a higher middle-income level by 2030 on the centenary of the founding of the Party; and a developed nation with a high income level by 2045 when Vietnam will see the centenary of its independence.
Action plan called for by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to translate the resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress into reality, with a focus on the following tasks:
- Continue improving the socialist-oriented market economy institutions, mechanisms, and policies; innovate growth model and restructure the economy.
- Decentralisation of power will be further strengthened while responsibility of organisations and individuals will be clarified to promote autonomy and creativity of all levels and sectors.
- Continue stepping up the building of a law-governed state, uphold the rule-of-law spirit, strengthen discipline in the state apparatus and the whole society; actively prevent and consistently fight corruption and wastefulness through adoption of strong mechanisms and solutions; promulgate mechanisms to encourage and protect those who dare to think, dare to do and dare to take responsibility for common benefits.
- Mobilise and effectively use all resources in favour of national development; foster strategic infrastructure development; attach importance to national digital transformation and digital economy based on science and technology development; create more favourable environment and conditions conducive to businesses; stay active and introduce effective solutions to overcome negative impacts of national calamities, climate change, environmental pollution, and epidemics, especially the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Resolutely and perseveringly safeguard national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity; ensure national defense, security, social order and safety; continue pursuing consistently the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multi-lateralisation and diversification of external relations for peace, cooperation, and development as well as active and proactive international integration, making Vietnam a responsible and trusted member of the international community.
- Build mechanisms and policies to promote the cultural and human values, serving as a driving force for socioeconomic development; take measures to raise the quality of healthcare, education and training; lay emphasis on high-quality workforce development, and attract and use talents.
- Develop an inclusive social welfare system, with a focus on remote, border, island regions, ethnic-inhabited areas, and vulnerable groups.