Factbox: New figures in Vietnam's leadership transition

·3-min read
Pham Minh Chinh swears in as Vietnam's Prime Minister at an official ceremony in Hanoi

(Corrects Vuong Dinh Hue's age to 64 not 63)

HANOI (Reuters) - After Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief was elected for a rare third term in January, Vietnam on Monday confirmed the nomination of a new president and prime minister to head one of Asia's fastest growing economies for the next five years.

Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by four "pillars": the powerful General Secretary of the Communist Party, a largely ceremonial president, a governing prime minister and the chair of its National Assembly.

The main candidates for each post had all been widely known in Hanoi's political circles, but were officially declared top secret in December last year in order to discourage potentially critical debate.

The Party retains tight control of media and tolerates little criticism.

The following is a look at Vietnam's top four leaders:

NGUYEN PHU TRONG, 76

Trong, a party ideologue, is General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and has led a "blazing furnace" anti-corruption drive after ejecting a former leadership that had closer ties to business in 2016.

Trong has been struggling with bad health since 2019 but was re-elected by his party for a rare third five-year term in late January, cementing his position as the country's most powerful political leader for decades.

NGUYEN XUAN PHUC, 66

Vietnam's law-making National Assembly confirmed former Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc would be Vietnam's new president on Monday.

Phuc had been widely tipped to take on the predominantly ceremonial position. Some analysts see him as a potential successor to Trong, should the party chief fail to complete a full, third term.

As prime minister from 2016-2021, Phuc represented Hanoi on the world stage as the face of Vietnam's many trade deals and pushed for regional multilateralism as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year.

PHAM MINH CHINH, 62

Chinh, a career security official and the former head of the Party's influential Central Organisation Commission, was selected as prime minister on Monday by the legislature.

Chinh has held several top positions in Vietnam's powerful Ministry of Public Security, the state apparatus tasked both with everyday policing and the systematic monitoring of dissent and surveillance of activists, as well as espionage overseas.

He is the first Vietnamese prime minister not to have previously served as a deputy prime minister since the launch of Vietnam's progressive "Doi Moi" reforms.

As prime minister, Chinh will have more direct influence over the day-to-day governing of Vietnam and the Communist Party's decision-making 18 member politburo.

VUONG DINH HUE, 64

Hue, a trained economist and former deputy prime minister, was until recently Secretary of the Hanoi Communist Party Committee. He was confirmed as National Assembly chair on April. 1.

His position is viewed by analysts as the least powerful of the top four roles, although it has also been a springboard in the past to the most powerful General Secretary position.

Trong himself was National Assembly chair before he became Party chief in 2011.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by James Pearson, Martin Petty)