Vietnam begins congress to pick leadership

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan 25 (efe-epa).- The Communist Party of Vietnam kicked off its 13th National Congress on Monday with nearly 1,600 party delegates meeting in Hanoi for nine days to choose the country’s leadership for the next five years.

Before the start of the congress, the party’s top leaders, accompanied by dozens of delegates, paid tribute to national hero Ho Chi Minh, who founded the party in 1930, at his mausoleum in the Vietnamese capital on Monday.

Afterwards, the 1,587 delegates representing the 5.1 million party members (out of a population of 96 million) went to the National Convention Center, where they began the first preparatory session of the congress, held every five years.

Between Monday and Feb. 2, the delegates will select members of the central committee and the politburo, the party’s main decision-making body, from which will emerge the party’s secretary general, who wields the most power in the country.

Nguyen Phu Trong has held that post for the last decade, as well as the title of state president after the sudden death of his predecessor, Tran Dai Quang, in 2018.

At 76 years of age and well past the official retirement age of 65, Trong was expected to be relieved of both his position at the helm of the party and the presidency of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, especially after suffering a health setback in 2019.

However, in recent weeks, reports that the party would make an exception, as provided for by law, and that Trong would remain in office have been gaining strength.

Another favorite is Trong’s protege, Tran Quoc Vuong, but media reports in recent weeks have indicated that he does not have enough support within the party.

Another possible candidate is Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who enjoys great popularity due to his successful management of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has resulted in 1,548 cases in the country, including 35 deaths, over the past year.

During the congress, the party delegates will also propose candidates for the other three political pillars of the country, including the state president, the prime minister and the National Assembly chair.

The candidates proposed for these key posts will be ratified by the National Assembly during its next plenary session. EFE-EPA


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