Vietnam's Parliament to Vote on Prime Minister Dung's Dismissal

  • Vote follows Dung's failure to become Communist Party chief
  • Lawmakers to vote on three new top leaders in coming weeks

Vietnamese legislators will vote in the coming weeks on whether to dismiss Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung two months after he failed in his bid to become the Communist Party’s chief.

The National Assembly previously had been scheduled to meet during the summer to complete the nation’s once-in-five-year political transition. Lawmakers will also vote on dismissing President Truong Tan Sang and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung during meetings to be held March 31 to April 12, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, general secretary of National Assembly, said at a briefing in Hanoi.

The move, being characterized as procedural by legislators, is unusual.

“It’s pretty rare but did happen twice in the past when the time period between the Party Congress and the election to form the new National Assembly was too long,” Cao Sy Kiem, a National Assembly member, said by telephone from Hanoi. “This is to make sure the process of handing over the jobs will be smoothly done. It also makes more sense as the prime minister is no longer a Politburo member now.”

‘Lame Duck’

A dismissal will allow Dung, who wielded significant power, to move on to the next stage in his career and allow the government to avoid an extended period of inaction before the new prime minister and other leaders are appointed.

“For a Vietnamese leader, respect is very important and you can only govern if you have respect,” said Vu Tu Thanh, chief Vietnam representative of the U.S.-Asean Business Council. “If you feel people have their deference and respect divided between you and the incoming guy, you want to get out of there and focus on your future. He is a lame duck.”

Current Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was chosen by delegates to a second term in January over Dung. The parliament will also vote to elect new leaders to take the country’s three top positions, Phuc said.

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