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Nguyen Phu Trong

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party named its party leader on 04 October 2018 to serve both in that role and as the country’s new president, subject to approval by Vietnam’s National Assembly. General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong replaces former president Tran Dai Quang who died last month, and if approved would be the first to hold both top posts at the same time since Communist Party founder Ho Chi Minh led Vietnam in the 1960s. Trong, 74, was seen as a political hard-liner who had cracked down on corrupt bankers and other officials, and who had joined with former President Quang in jailing scores of political dissidents in recent years. The legislature in Hanoi confirmed Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as president October 26, 2018.

Trong’s double role as president and party head will let him mold a wealth of political experience into foreign and economic policy, Vietnam specialists say. In particular, Trong will get more access to foreign heads of state, who often do not see party heads as key political figures. “As general secretary, it’s hard to know how internationally how to treat them, but as president, you’re acknowledged, they understand what presidents are,” said Adam McCarty, chief economist with Mekong Economics in Hanoi. “As president-general secretary, he’ll be expected to have a lot more power and therefore be treated as a more serious player than just a president visiting other countries,” McCarty said.

Vietnam’s anti-corruption campaign that became visible to the public in 2016 is likely to intensify under Trong, according to the domestic news website VnExpress International says. It cited “numerous” crackdowns on top business people and government leaders to date. Trong frowns on overtly lavish lifestyles, a hallmark of corruption.

National Assembly Chair Nguyen Phu Trong, long seen as a truly conservative ideologue, was elected General Secretary of the 11th Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC). Nguyen Phu Trong, who had ably managed Vietnam's increasingly assertive National Assembly, was a known commodity, having also served credibly as Hanoi Party Secretary. Trong had done much to boost the stature of his position. Originally considered a colorless and conservative apparatchik, Trong not only deftly maneuvered within the Politburo to consolidate the work of his more charismatic predecessor Nguyen Van An, but enhanced the NA's links with foreign legislatures. The National Assembly had assumed a more important policy role in recent years under current NA Chair Nguyen Phu Trong, continuing the even more dramatic advances made under Trong's predecessor Nguyen Van An.

Nguyen Phu Trong was born toa Poor peasant family in April 14, 1944, in Dong Hoi Commune, Dong Anh District, Hanoi. He is a graduate in literature-linguistics and holds a PhD in politics (majoring in Party building). 1957-1963 he was a student at the Nguyen Gia Thieu junior and senior high schools in Gia Lam district, Hanoi. And from 1963-1967 he was a student at the Linguistics Faculty of Hanoi General University.

He was admitted to the Party on December 19, 1967. December 1967- July 1968: Officer at the Documentary Desk of the Study Review (now the Communist Review). July 1968 - August 1973: Editor of the Party Building Department of the Communist Review. He experienced a period of probation in Thanh Oai district, Ha Tay province (now Hanoi ) in 1971 and was Secretary of the Youth Union of the Communist Review from 1969 to 1973. August 1973 – April 1976: Underwent a political-economic post-graduate course at the High-level Nguyen Ai Quoc Party School (now the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration), member of the Party cell committee. May 1976 - August 1980: Editor of the Party Building Department of the Communist Review, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee.

Many Vietnamese maintain warm personal feelings toward Russia, dating from Vietnam's years as a stalwart member of the Soviet bloc. This is particularly true for an influential generation of officials, mostly northerners, who received training in Moscow or elsewhere in the Soviet Union and now occupy senior positions throughout the Party and state apparatus. Topping the list are CPV General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, who studied Forestry at Leningrad from 1966 to 1971; Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh, who attended the Voroshilov Military Academy in 1989; and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong and Hanoi Party Chief Pham Quang Nghi, who did post-graduate work at the Soviet Academy of Social Sciences in the 1980s.

From September 1980 - August 1981 Trong learned Russian at the High-level Nguyen Ai Quoc Party School. From September 1981 to July 1983 he was an On-the-job trainee and defended his Associate PhD thesis (now PhD thesis) in Party building at the Academy of Social Sciences of the Soviet Union.

August 1983 - February 1989: Deputy head of the Party Building Department, the Communist Review (October 1983); Head of the Party Building Department, the Communist Review (September 1987); Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the Communist Review (July 1985-December 1988) and then Secretary (December 1988-December 1991) March 1989 – April 1990: Member of the Editorial Board of the Communist Review. May 1990 – July 1991: Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Communist Review. August 1991 – August 1996: Editor-in-Chief of the Communist Review.

January 1994 - now: Member of the CPVCC (7th , 8th , 9th and 10th tenures). By 2006 Hanoi had three representatives in the new Central Committee [out of 160 official members and 21 alternates], including Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Deputy Party Secretary Phung Huu Phu and Chairman of the Municipal People's Committee Nguyen Quoc Trieu.

August 1996 - February 1998: Deputy Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, Head of the Hanoi Party Committee's department in charge of tertiary education personnel, and head of the Hanoi Party Committee’s Popularisation and Education Board.

December 1997 - now: Member of the Political Bureau of the CPVCC (8th, 9th and 10th tenures)

February 1998 - January 2000: In charge of the Party Central Committee's Ideological-Cultural and Scientific-Educational Affairs. August 1999-April 2001: Permanent member of the Party Politburo. March 1998 - August 2006: Vice Chairman of the CPVCC's Theoretical Council (March 1998-November 2001); Chairman of the CPVCC's Theoretical Council in charge of the Party's theoretical work (November 2001-August 2006).

January 2000 - June 2006: Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee (12th , 13th and 14th tenures). Trong, head of the Hanoi party committee, raised the theme of Vietnam's weakness in a 2000 article in "Communist Review." Trong observed, "Rhe national and class struggles are proceeding in a very intense and fierce manner. The scientific and technological revolution is developing tempestuously. Meanwhile, our capacity for comprehension and intellectual level are limited." Trong fearws that "hostile forces are trying to attack and undermine our people's revolutionary cause by all means. They have made every effort to misrepresent and slander our party and state and directly strike at the ideological system, political program and political line of our party in an attempt to cause our party to disintegrate from its roots and from within."

May 2002 - now: Deputy to the 11th and 12th National Assembly. June 2006 - now: Secretary of the National Assembly's Party Organisation, Chairman of the National Assembly and member of the Council for Defence and Security. The National Assembly (NA), in its 15 October to 15 November 2008 session, came down hard on mismanagement in Vietnam's state-owned sector. Although the global financial crisis was on everybody's minds during the NA session, the deputies did not call for Vietnam to back off from greater global integration; in fact, Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong, who is not particularly known for his reformist leanings, did just the opposite. In his opening remarks, he called for more global economic integration as a way to steady the country's economy through the international financial turmoil.

Elected General Secretary of the 11th CPVCC at the 11th National Party Congress in January 2011.

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Page last modified: 22-11-2018 18:46:08 ZULU