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Vietnam picks ex-state security official as new prime minister

Vietnam’s National Assembly confirmed Pham Minh Chinh, a career security official, as the south east Asian country’s next prime minister at an official ceremony on Monday (April 5). Chinh, 62, was the sole nominee put forward by the ruling Communist Party for the post at a congress earlier this year. He won 96.25% of the vote at Monday’s National Assembly vote. He was formerly head of the party’s Central Organisation Commission, which has a long reach across party ranks, as well as deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security, the agency tasked with everyday policing, the monitoring of dissent and surveillance of activists, as well as espionage overseas. The move completes the five-yearly renewal of Vietnam’s top four positions, as it looks to maintain economic growth, keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay, and balance relations with Beijing and Washington. Chinh will replace former Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was confirmed earlier on Monday as the country’s new president, a largely ceremonial role. Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by four “pillars”: the powerful General Secretary of the Communist Party, the president, the prime minister and the chair of the National Assembly, a largely rubber-stamp legislature. (Production: Thinh Nguyen, Minh Nguyen)

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