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Vietnam parliament elects new president Vo Van Thuong

The presidency is largely ceremonial, but it ranks among the top four positions in Vietnam, where the Communist Party holds power.

Vietnam’s National Assembly has confirmed Vo Van Thuong as the country’s new president, in a reshuffle of the country’s top amid a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.

In an extraordinary session on Thursday, lawmakers confirmed Thuong, 52, as president after the ruling Communist Party nominated him as the only candidate on Wednesday.

The presidency is largely a ceremonial role, but it ranks among the four most important political positions in Vietnam.

A total of 487 of the 488 delegates present at the National Assembly voted for Thuong, the state-run Viet Nam News reported.

Thuong’s appointment comes amid a period of political turmoil in Vietnam, where the almighty Communist Party’s anti-corruption campaign is underway and factions have led to the resignation of several ministers.

The election follows the sudden resignation in January of his predecessor, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was accused by the party of “violations and wrongdoings” by officials under his control.

Phuc’s ousting as president was seen as a significant escalation of the country’s anti-corruption policy.

In his first speech to parliament as Vietnam’s new president, Thuong said he would “resolutely” continue the fight against corruption.

“(I will) strive to fulfill to the best of my ability the responsibilities and missions entrusted by the party, the state and the people,” the newly elected president said at an swearing-in ceremony, the Viet Nam News reported.

He also pledged to “constantly study and monitor President Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and lifestyle,” the news outlet reported.

Thuong is the youngest member of the party’s Politburo, the country’s highest decision-making body, but is considered a veteran of the party who began his political career at university in communist youth organizations.

He is widely regarded as close to the party’s general secretary, Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s most powerful figure, and the main architect of the party’s fight against corruption.