Vietnam's new leader defends communist rule

HANOI, Vietnam - Vietnam's re-elected leader, a 71-year-old Communist Party ideologue, made it clear Wednesday that one-party rule was here to stay, insisting that the collective leadership he heads is a far better alternative to what he called authoritarianism disguised as democracy.

See Full Article

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected Wednesday as head of the party and the leader of a 19-member Politburo that will govern Vietnam for the next five years. The decisions were made at the end of a weeklong congress of the 4.5-million-member party, which rules the lives of 93 million Vietnamese.

"Vietnam's Communist Party is one-party rule but we also have principles of democracy and accountability of the leaders. Otherwise the faults would be blamed on the entire group and merits would be credited to the individual," he said.

"The principle of the Communist Party of Vietnam is collective leadership with accountability and responsibility of the individual, which can never become authoritarian. Elsewhere in the world, there are examples where they say they follow democracy but decisions are made by one person," he said.

Apparently justifying the iron-fisted rule of the Communist Party, Trong said the country needs discipline to meet its goal of becoming a modern, industrialized society

"However, a country without discipline would be chaotic and unstable ... Democracy should go alongside discipline. There should be no imbalance. We should not go to either extreme. We need to balance between democracy and law and order. "

Along with Trong, a new crop of leaders were elected to the Politburo and the 180-member Central Committee, the other key component of the ruling structure.

The renewal of the leadership means little change for Vietnam, where the people have no direct role in selecting the party leaders.

Trong is expected to continue to push the economic reforms led by outgoing Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The prime minister is the de facto No. 2 in the hierarchy, and the post now will be held by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Despite having a reputation for being pro-China, Trong is not likely to be totally subservient to Beijing as that would risk massive anger from ordinary Vietnamese who harbour a deep dislike and historical suspicion of China.

"Many people were afraid that a conservative trend would prevail if Mr. Trong is re-elected. But ... whoever they may be, and however conservative they may be, when they are at the helm they are under pressure to carry out reforms," Le Hong Hiep, a visiting Vietnamese fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies in Singapore, told The Associated Press.

Trong's re-election was an expected outcome, even though he was briefly challenged by Dung in what had become a relatively public power struggle. Trong's camp has accused Dung of corruption and mismanagement, but analysts believe that the accusations were an excuse since the widespread corruption that seeps through the system is not likely to vanish overnight with Dung's departure.

Addressing that question, Trong said there was a need to "particularly sustain the accountability and responsibility of the leaders and supervise power to ensure corruption and wastefulness are brought under control."

Even though Trong's re-election was a foregone conclusion, in his opening remarks at the press conference said he had not expected to be re-elected.

"I was re-elected as general secretary with almost 100 per cent of the vote. And I am very surprised by that. Because I am quite old. I am the oldest member in the leadership of Vietnam. I myself asked to be retired but due to responsibility tasked on me by the party I had to accept."

Trong said there is "a lot of work ahead of us."

"The responsibility is enormous. And in the current domestic and international context, there are a lot of opportunities and challenges," he said.

The third most important member elected to the Politburo was Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang, who will be the country's new president.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • En garde! France's Macron won't let go in handshake showdown with Trump

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- U.S. President Donald Trump met his match in a handshake showdown with France's new president, Emmanuel Macron. At their first meeting, ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, the two men locked hands for so long that knuckles started turning white. Source
  • N.S. political leaders to square off in televised roundtable

    Canada News CTV News
    Nova Scotia's political leaders will square off today in the last debate before voters go to the polls next week. Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil, Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie and NDP Leader Gary Burrill are taking part in the roundtable debate at Saint Mary's University in Halifax tomorrow. Source
  • Boy, 5, dies after falling off bike onto road

    Canada News CTV News
    A five-year-old cyclist has died after being struck by a vehicle in downtown Toronto. Police were called to the scene at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Jameson Avenue around 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday. Const. Source
  • Federal environment minister to make industrial emissions announcement in Calgary

    Canada News CBC News
    Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is in Calgary Thursday to make what the federal government says will be an "important announcement" about the federal policy on industrial emissions. McKenna is set to speak at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) starting at 9 a.m. Source
  • Fish plant burns to the ground on island in northern N.B.

    Canada News CTV News
    MISCOU , N.B. - A fish plant in northeastern New Brunswick has been destroyed by fire, dealing another blow to a community hit by a major ice storm this winter and suspected tornadoes last week. Source
  • Don't trust rosy Instagram photos of dangerous B.C. trails, rescuers say

    Canada News CTV News
    Search and rescue officials in B.C. are warning would-be hikers to do their homework before striking out to into the province's backcountry, after several ill-equipped individuals were recovered from the mountains over the Victoria Day weekend. Source
  • Parties trade barbs as poll shows N.S. race tightening in final days

    Canada News CTV News
    Nova Scotia's party leaders were largely off the campaign trail ahead of Thursday night's debate, but the parties duelled by press release as a new poll suggested a tightening race. The NDP and Progressive Conservatives attacked the incumbent Liberals over health care, while the Liberals highlighted the Tory promise to "cut taxes for big business to unprecedented rates. Source
  • Supreme Court to look at constitutionality of victim surcharges

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to look at whether it's unconstitutional to make a poor person convicted of a crime pay a surcharge that helps victims. The case at issue involves Alex Boudreault, a high-school dropout who had never held a steady job and who pleaded guilty in September 2013 to four counts relating to various breaches of probation orders. Source
  • Convicted killer lunges at co-defendant while verdicts read

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- One of four people charged with murder lunged at a co-defendant and shouted profanities and "I'm not going to forget!" while their guilty verdicts were being read in a Boston courtroom. Omar Bonner, Omar Denton, Andrew Robertson, and Javaine Watson were convicted Wednesday in the December 2013 shooting death of 25-year-old Romeo McCubbin in the city's Dorchester neighbourhood. Source
  • N.S. schools see average 1,100 threats or acts of 'physical violence' monthly

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Students commit, incite or threaten some form of physical violence an average of about 1,100 times a month at Nova Scotia's schools, prompting teachers to call for more support staff and a clearer discipline process. Source