A high-ranking official from Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly has affirmed that a lawmaker who has been accused of having a dual nationality only holds Vietnamese citizenship.
The legislator, Nguyen Van Than, has been accused of having a dual citizenship of Vietnam and Poland, and owning a house in the Western European country.
The accusations began to spread on social media after his statement in a plenary session of the National Assembly earlier this month that he supported a draft law which was claimed to pave the way for the development of new special economic zones.
The bill states that foreign investors are allowed to lease land for up to 99 years for projects in the zones with approval from the Vietnamese prime minister, an incentive critics feared would pose a serious threat to national security if given to wrong hands.
Than’s endorsement also resulted in demonstrations in front a house in Poland where his wife and son live, affecting their lives to the great extent that he had never envisaged.
In the wake of accusations against Than, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, secretary general of the National Assembly, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday that the lawmaker now maintains only his Vietnamese citizenship.
Vietnam’s Law on nationality prohibits Vietnamese citizens from taking the nationality of another country, except in special cases, which Than does not fall into.
The law, whose voting has been adjourned, caused protests and several episodes of public disorder in Vietnam’s southern provinces of Binh Thuan and Dong Nai in mid-June, and a number of ensuing arrests by police.
Than told Tuoi Tre that the groundless accusations have adversely affected his life and his family.
“My wife is a woman of family who doesn’t take much interest in politics, and my son is a young artist,” he said.
“They made no mistake so as to suffer from such terrorization.”
Than said he made public statements only in an effort to develop Vietnam.
“I expressed my views on problems under discussion at the national legislature’s meetings as a member of the body.”
“Opinions amongst other deputies may diverge, but our common purpose is to build complete, progressive laws that boost the country’s growth.”
“I don’t have any ulterior motives behind the statements and am willing to be held accountable to voters for these.”
Secretary General Phuc said Than used to hold Vietnamese and Polish citizenship but he renounced the second before becoming a nominee for membership of the National Assembly.
He also declared his house in the foreign country, which is jointly owned by him and his wife, Phuc added.
In 2016, it came as a surprise when a wealthy businesswoman named Nguyen Thi Nguyet Huong was ousted from the legislative just several days before the body’s first plenary session, as she had been found holding the citizenship of Vietnam and Malta – one of the world’s smallest countries.