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Thursday, April 7, 2016, 13:01

Phuc elected as Vietnam PM for 5-year term

By Agencies

Phuc elected as Vietnam PM for 5-year term

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, center, takes oath after being elected as prime minister in Hanoi, Vietnam, April, 7, 2016. (Thong Nhat / Vietnam News Agency via AP)

HANOI - Vietnam's National Assembly approved Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the country's prime minister on Thursday, completing a new core leadership trio to rule the fast-growing nation for the next five years.

Phuc, 61, rises from deputy prime minister to head of a government tasked with continuing broad economic reforms. He replaces Nguyen Tan Dung, who has served a maximum two terms in office and is no longer part of the Communist Party's top brass.

Phuc's legislative endorsement, by 96.1 percent of the house, was procedural as he was the only candidate chosen by the party at its January congress.

He becomes part of a new triumvirate with party chief Nguyen Phu Trong and President Tran Dai Quang, who was endorsed last week. Parliament will vote on a new Cabinet on Saturday.

Phuc takes office at a time of soaring public debt, a worrying budget deficit and China's growing assertiveness in nearby seas.

In a formal vote, 446 of the 490 members in the National Assembly voted to install Phuc, 61, as the head of government.

Phuc took the oath of office and vowed "absolute loyalty to the country, people and the Constitution."

In a televised inaugural speech, Phuc vowed to continue with reforms and fight corruption.

He raised his voice when pledged to "firmly defend the country's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity."

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