HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam’s premier received a boost Saturday when a majority of lawmakers in the one-party state voted for him in the communist country’s second annual confidence vote, a turnaround from his poor showing last year.
Some 320 out of 484 lawmakers said they had “high confidence” in Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, a sharp contrast to last year when a third of parliamentarians in the country’s rubber stamp National Assembly said they had “low confidence” in his leadership.
Just 68 lawmakers expressed “low confidence” in the premier this year.
The confidence vote, which was held for the first time in 2013, is an effort by Vietnam’s authoritarian rulers to ease growing public discontent over a lack of accountability and corruption.
Lawmakers could express “low confidence”, “confidence”, or “high confidence” in 50 top officials – including the Prime Minister, President and chairman of the National Assembly.
Officials who received more than 50 per cent “low confidence” votes for two consecutive years can be asked to resign, according to state media reports.
But both this year and last, all officials facing the vote managed to secure the necessary amount of support to avoid future disciplinary measures.
This year, one of the most popular officials was President Truong Tan Sang who received 380 “high confidence” votes.
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, who has been rocked by a series of health scandals this year, was the least popular official, receiving 192 “low confidence” votes. Prime Minister Dung, whose reputation had been tainted by a string of corruption scandals and concerns over his handling of the economy, has apparently improved his popularity over the last year by speaking out strongly against China.