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Monday, May 21, 2007
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P. S. Suryanarayana
SINGAPORE: The "fight against corruption" in Vietnam and its "integration with the world," especially the global economic system, were cited by several voters as important issues in Sunday's election to the Vietnamese National Assembly. Results are expected within two weeks.
The voting acquired unusual importance in the context of Vietnam's ongoing efforts to fine-tune its "market economy with socialist orientation" to meet the "benchmarks" of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Vietnam joined the WTO a few months ago, and the country's Assembly has, since the early 1990s, earned a reputation for proactively scrutinising the Government's policies. Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nong Duc Manh was among the early voters in Hanoi. Over 870 candidates are in the fray for the 500-member Assembly. Regional observers say that nearly 150 candidates do not belong to the CPV which enjoys a "monopoly of power." This is seen as a sign of the changing times and a possible "political reform," although the non-CPV candidates are believed to have been cleared by the party for this contest.
Sunday's election is the first since the CPV effected some key personnel changes last year, including the appointment of a new Prime Minister and a new President, both from the erstwhile South Vietnam. The "unity of all Vietnamese" also formed a backdrop for the election.
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