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Ruling Vietnam communists re-appoint leader

Written by: Staff

HANOI, Apr 25: Vietnam's Communist Party re-appointed General Secretary Nong Duc Manh today as the one-party rulers battle corruption while quickening market reforms and expanding ties to the world.

The announcement to give Manh, 65, a second five-year term was made during the closing session of the eight-day National Party Congress in the capital Hanoi, which is festooned with red flags and yellow hammer and sickle insignia.

Politburo member Truong Tan Sang read the names of the new elite 14-member Politburo elected at the Congress and then announced Nong Duc Manh's name as General Secretary.

Three out of four of the most senior political positions, were to change after the five-yearly congress. The president, prime minister and chairman of the National Assembly, or parliament, were not elected to the Politburo.

The party would make its recommendations for those jobs to the assembly, officials said.

Manh is a former Soviet-trained forestry engineer who was first chosen General Secretary in 2001. He has urged the party to accelerate the Southeast Asian nation's 20-year long economic reforms and fight deep-seated corruption.

Vietnam wants to join the World Trade Organisation this year and in November, Hanoi will host leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

A multi-million dollar bribery and football betting scandal in a road building agency that receives foreign aid rocked the party in the months before the Congress. The transport minister resigned and his deputy was arrested on April 4, two weeks before the opening session.

With unprecedented economic growth over the past five years, the Congress agreed to ''improve competitiveness and capacity building'' to continue economic expansion. The economy grew at 8.4 per cent in 2005, one of the fastest rates after China.


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