Anti-corruption crusader elected as new president

THE National Assembly elected police minister To Lam (pic) as the nation’s new president, the legislature reported.

Lam, 66, has been minister of public security since 2016 and also deputy head of the Communist Party’s anti-corruption committee since 2021.

He becomes Vietnam’s third president in less than two years after his two immediate predecessors resigned for “violations” that were possibly detected by the ministry that Lam oversaw.

“This is a great honour and responsibility, also an opportunity for me,” Lam said in a speech after taking his oath at the National Assembly.

He vowed to “resolutely and persistently fight corruption and wrongdoings”, and sought the “support and cooperation” of the party central committee, the parliament and the government.

The vote comes amid an anti-graft campaign pushed by Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong that has also ensnared two deputy prime ministers, a parliament chairman, scores of other government officials and business executives.Despite being largely ceremonial, the presidency is the second most important position in the political hierarchy and is a stepping stone to eventually succeed Trong when his term as party chief ends in 2026.

Lam has emerged as one of the most important officials apart from Trong, after his work to weed out corruption helped lift Vietnam’s ranking in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index to 83 last year from 113 in 2016. — Bloomberg

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