Viet lawmakers name first woman to chair National Assembly

Ms Ngan, 61, a veteran lawmaker and senior Communist Party official, was elected with 95.5 per cent of the vote. There were no other candidates on the ballot paper.
Ms Ngan, 61, a veteran lawmaker and senior Communist Party official, was elected with 95.5 per cent of the vote. There were no other candidates on the ballot paper.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

HANOI • Vietnam named a woman for the first time to the influential role of chairman in its rubber- stamp National Assembly - the country's fourth most powerful position - state media reported.

Veteran lawmaker and senior Communist Party official Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan was elected with 95.5 per cent of votes after a poll in the country's 500-strong legislative body yesterday, state-run VTV said.

"I vow my resolute loyalty to the nation, the people, and the Constitution," said Ms Ngan, who is from southern Ben Tre province.

Ms Ngan, 61, was selected for the National Assembly chair position in January during the five-yearly Communist Party Congress, which was this year overshadowed by factional fighting.

No other candidates were on the ballot paper and some 472 out of the 484 lawmakers present voted in her favour, VTV said.

Ms Ngan was selected for the National Assembly chair position in January during the five-yearly Communist Party Congress, which was this year overshadowed by factional fighting.

Her appointment means she is the highest-ranking female party official.

The majority of Communist Party officials are men, but women are reasonably well represented in the ranks, with around 25 per cent of National Assembly delegates being female. Vietnam is in the midst of a leadership handover after the country's top communist leader Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected as secretary-general in January in a victory for the party's old guard.

Reformist Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung lost out in internal party elections and is due to step down next week, when the National Assembly will vote on his replacement.

His successor is expected to be current Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, state media said.

Tomorrow, the National Assembly will elect a new president, expected to be Mr Tran Dai Quang, a police general who rose through the ranks within the country's powerful Ministry of Public Security.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Viet lawmakers name first woman to chair National Assembly'. Print Edition | Subscribe