Vietnam Lawmakers Elect Top Policeman To Lam as New President

HANOI – Vietnam’s National Assembly elected police minister To Lam as the country’s new president on May 22, marking the most significant change in an ongoing major leadership reshuffle following a period of political turbulence in the one-party state.

To Lam, 66, was elected by the National Assembly after being nominated last week by a top committee of the ruling Communist Party. Following his election, Lam pledged loyalty to the nation, state, and people, stating, “I will try my best to fulfill all the tasks assigned.”

Lam has been the head of the Ministry of Public Security since 2016 and was admitted to the party’s Politburo, Vietnam’s most powerful decision-making body, in 2021. He has played a pivotal role in the anti-graft campaign known as the “blazing furnace,” which aims to eradicate widespread corruption but has been viewed by some critics as a means to eliminate political rivals.

Although the president’s role is largely ceremonial, it is one of Vietnam’s top four political positions, collectively known as the “four pillars,” alongside the party chief, prime minister, and parliament speaker.

The current leadership shake-up began in March, resulting in the resignation of three of Vietnam’s top five leaders, including the house speaker, the president, and a top Politburo member, due to unspecified “wrongdoings.” This political turbulence has caused concern among foreign investors about stability in Vietnam, a country traditionally seen as a beacon of stability in a region prone to policy shifts due to governmental changes.

To Lam is the second new addition to the leadership after Tran Thanh Man, 61, was elected as chairman of the legislature on May 20. This reshuffling reflects Vietnam’s commitment to maintaining continuity and stability amid the political changes.