Vietnam wraps up party convention

Prime minister reappointed to elite politburo on last day of five-yearly convention.

    The Communist Party congress ended with a pledge to maintain one-party rule [AFP]

    Nguyen Tan Dung, the prime minister of Vietnam, has been reappointed to the ruling Communist Party's elite politburo, paving the way for him to serve for a second term.

    Nguyen Phu Trong, the head of parliament, was also named as the party's secretary-general on Wednesday while prominent figure Truong Tan Sang and Nguyen Sinh Hung, the deputy prime minister, said to be rivals of Dung, were also in the politburo.

    The announcements come as Communist Party wrapped up its five-yearly convention.

    The country's last National Congress was held during the economic boom in 2006, when Vietnam was experiencing an annual growth of seven per cent.

    But since 2009, Vietnam has had to devalue its currency, the dong, three times, while its neighbouring countries have strengthened their currencies.

    Continuity

    However, analysts expect broad policy continuity as the party founded 81-years-ago by leader Ho Chi Minh seeks fast but stable economic growth and gropes its way towards the reform of state-owned businesses.

    "The government should give more space for the market to decide the operation of the economy; it should not tell enterprises in detail what to do, such as make this investment or not," Le Dang Doanh, a former government advisor, now an independent economist, told Reuters news agency.

    "Prime Minister Dung's top priority, if he is selected for a second term, should be, first, stabilising the macro economy, curbing inflation; second, he should continue to innovate in the state-owned enterprises system and improve their accountability."

    Inefficiencies in state firms came to the fore with the near-bankruptcy last year of shipbuilder Vinashin, a company that had large political and financial support over the years.

    Its problems played a part in the downgrading of Vietnam's sovereign debt by Standard & Poor's in December.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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