Vietnam Prime Minister sworn in by lawmakers

07 April 2016
Vietnam Prime Minister sworn in by lawmakers
Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C, front) takes the oath of office after being elected new Prime Minister by Vietnam's Parliament, in Hanoi, Vietnam, 07 April 2016. Photo: EPA

Vietnam's new prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was formally voted in and handed a five-year term by lawmakers Thursday to round off a leadership change among Communist top brass.
Phuc was the only candidate nominated for the position by party officials earlier this year and won 90.26 percent of the votes in the rubber stamp parliament.
"I will do my best to serve the country and people," the 61-year-old, who was previously a deputy prime minister, said after the vote according to state-run VTV.
Authoritarian Vietnam is run by the Communist Party and officially led by a triumvirate of the party secretary general, president, and prime minister, with key decisions being made by the 19-member politburo.
Top communist leader Nguyen PhuTrong was reelected in January as party secretary general in a victory for the party's old guard.
Reformist former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung lost out in internal party elections and stepped down Wednesday.
On Saturday, the National Assembly approved a top police general, Tran Dai Quang, as president -- a largely ceremonial role.
However there was a lukewarm reaction to Phuc's election by many observers.
"Nguyen Xuan Phuc is nothing special. I have no hope of major changes on his watch," Army General Nguyen TrongVinh told AFP Thursday. 
Former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, a charasmatic leader credited with pushing a pro-business agenda, has left a mixed legacy, with critics blaming him for widespread corruption and inefficacy in the sprawling state-run sector.
"It will be very difficult for (Phuc) to overcome the economic difficulties left by the government of Nguyen Tan Dung," Communist Party veteran Tran Tuan Hung, 76, told AFP. 
"How can he can resolve public debt, budget deficits and corruption? I don't rely or expect much from him," he said, adding that Phuc was a party man and would likely hew to the official line for major decision.
In the past, the leadership handover was decided at the party congress in January but took up to six months to be confirmed by the National Assembly.
Analysts say the process has moved more quickly this year, partly because several top leaders are retiring from politics, and also because of an upcoming visit by US President Barack Obama in May.