News / Asia

Vietnam PM Keeps Post as Economic Struggles Continue

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during their meeting at the Government Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 14, 2012. (AP)Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during their meeting at the Government Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 14, 2012. (AP)
x
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during their meeting at the Government Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 14, 2012. (AP)
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba (L) shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during their meeting at the Government Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 14, 2012. (AP)
Marianne Brown
Vietnam's prime minister appears to have survived a leadership challenge this week over his handling of the poorly-performing economy.  

Communist Party officials ended any speculation that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung might lose his job when they concluded a top-level party meeting on Monday.

The 175-member party central committee met for two weeks to discuss a long list of topics, ranging from economic reform and land use to education.
 
The run-up to what is usually a low-key event attracted international attention following several arrests over a banking scandal and the publication in political blogs of material highly critical of the 62-year-old prime minister, whom many blame for the country’s economic crisis.

Mistakes acknowledged

In a nationally broadcast speech at the conclusion of the meeting, party secretary Nguyen Phu Trong apologized for the mismanagement of the struggling economy.
 
Trong said the party had made some big mistakes, especially in not preventing corruption and deterioration among some of its members. He added, however, the one member who deserved punishment would be spared.

Many believe that person is the prime minister.
 
Vietnam analyst Tuong Vu, a professor at the University of Oregon, said Dung’s rivals clearly failed to oust him from power, but Trong’s speech should be interpreted as a warning to the prime minister’s supporters.
 
“They tried first in the politburo, they failed. They brought it to the central commission, they failed. And now they have to put a spin on it and so they will try to admit defeat and try to mobilize support for their faction, and send a warning message to the prime minister's faction,” said Vu.
 
Faltering ascent

Dung established his political support base by achieving high economic growth rates. Under his command, Vietnam was focused on becoming the world’s leading shipbuilder. That goal was derailed by the global financial crisis, followed by massive corruption scandals.
 
In the run-up to the meeting, some analysts predicted Dung would be ousted by his rivals, President Truong Tan Sang and Party Secretary Trong.
 
Regional security analyst, Professor Carl Thayer, said a dramatic change was not very likely, though, given the makeup of the country's powerful central committee.
 
“About 40 per cent on the central committee are on there because of him. That’s just a ball park figure. Those people would resist having him removed because it would unravel. The problem with a system like this is nothing is independent. Everything is dependent on the party,” he said.

Economic reforms

Thayer said the prime minister may have retained his position, but his power has been undermined.

Prime Minister Dung was given an agenda to reform state-owned enterprises and sort out the banking system. Further investigations into shipbuilding giants Vinashin and Vinalines also were singled out.
 
Economists say the results of the meeting are good news for investors, who could have more confidence that economic reforms finally will  be carried through.
 
Dung is now in his second term and will be of retiring age by the time the next party congress convenes. This also will affect his political power, said Thayer, as people are less likely to ally themselves with him.
 
“If you’re hanging on to Nguyen Tan Dung, he’s going to be lame duck. He’s going to be 65 by the next congress. He had his two terms in office, like an American president he has a second term. In the end power begins to wane,” said Thayer.
 
Others disagree, saying Dung could well remain in power, but with a different title, perhaps in the position of party secretary.
 
Analysts say the high-tension rivalry between the country’s top leaders is symptomatic of the shifting relationship between state and party. Associate professor Vu said the state has become so rich and powerful in recent years that party leaders like Trong are losing control.
 
“There has been a natural process of economic reform that brings more power to the state and causing the ideology that the party represents, system which the party controls, is losing relevance,” said Vu.
 
It may be years in the future, but observers say change is inevitable for Vietnam as economic reform eclipses communist ideology and the legitimacy of the party.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More