Vietnam’s Leadership Transition in 2016: A Preliminary Analysis

hungdungsangtrong Source: Le Hong Hiep, “Vietnam’s Leadership Transition in 2016: A Preliminary Analysis”, ISEAS Perspective, No. 24, 18 May 2015.

Executive summary

The 12th national congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) will be held next year. Among the most important issues on the agenda will be the election of the Party’s Central Committee as well as its top leadership positions, including the Politburo and the General Secretary.

The CPV has been active in shaping the next Central Committee by training and rotating potential candidates to prepare them for the job. About half the current Central Committee will retire. This paper provides a list of potential candidates who will replace them. The actual and final list of candidates, however, is subject to the quiet yet intense competition and bargaining among different factions within the party. For the Politburo, 7 to 11 current members will retire, and about the same number of new members will be added. Based on an analysis of a combination of factors and discussions with informed sources, this paper identifies some potential candidates who may become new members of the next Politburo.

A key factor shaping the outcome of the next leadership transition is the growing power and influence of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. If Dung can make use of his huge influence over the current Central Committee to shape the next Central Committee and Politburo in his favour, there is a strong possibility that he will be elected the next General Secretary. In this scenario, Vietnam will have a stronger and more unified leadership, as the next Prime Minister will most likely be one of his protégés.

Dung’s prospect of becoming the next General Secretary also has implications for the selection of two other important posts, namely the State President and the Speaker of the National Assembly. This paper also provides some analysis of potential candidates for these positions.

The CPV’s preparation for the next leadership transition, however, remains an unfinished business. Power competition and bargaining will rage on at least until the eve of the congress. The game seems now to be in Prime Minister Dung’s favour, but the final score is far from settled






Download: Full text in PDF HERE.

A Vietnamese version of the article has been published HERE.

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