Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan 31 (efe-epa).- The Communist Party of Vietnam on Sunday elected Nguyen Phu Trong as general secretary for the third time in a row, an unprecedented tenure since the country’s reunification after the war in 1975.
State media reported that Trong was elected leader for the next five years for his “stable” management of state affairs, including the successful fight against the Covid-19 pandemic (Vietnam has registered less than 1,800 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths so far) and an anti-corruption campaign targeting high-profile political leaders and businessmen.
Trong, aged 76 and rumored to be in a weakened state of health, has also been the president of the country since 2018.
A few weeks ago he looked unlikely to continue as leader as he did not fulfill two key requirements for occupying the post: he is older than the age limit of 65 and had already served the maximum two terms.
However, the party considered his a special case and allowed him to vie for the post.
According to most analysts, Trong moved ahead with his candidature after confirming that his protege and executor of the anti-corruption campaign, Tran Quoc Vuong, did not enjoy enough support inside the party.
Trong assumed the party’s leadership in 2011 but has especially left his mark during his second five-year-term, attacking corruption and cracking down on dissent while continuing the policy of gradually opening up the economy.
His election marked the culmination of the 13th Congress of the Communist Party, which kicked off in Hanoi on Jan. 25 with nearly 1,600 delegates from across the country representing the 5.1 million members of the party – out of a population of over 96 million – coming together to elect the top leadership.
As well as electing Trong as the party leader, the delegates also nominated candidates for the posts of the president, prime minister and chairperson (speaker) of the National Assembly, who have to be approved in the next session of the parliament. EFE-EPA