Vietnam’s new leadership will be chosen at a Communist Party Congress in January, an official statement said late Monday, as the country struggles with economic reform and strained relations with its biggest trade partner and neighbour China.
The key meeting, held every five years, determines who will be president and prime minister and sets the country’s policy direction. The ruling elite will choose a successor to President Truong Tan Sang, while Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is serving his final term as premier, paving the way for a changing of the guard.
There will be a symbolic vote of approval from Vietnam’s communist-controlled national assembly a few months later. “The 12th national party congress will officially open on January 21 and ends on January 28th in Hanoi,” the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) said in a statement.
The meeting comes at a pressing time for the country. Since decades of war ended in 1975, it has developed rapidly from an impoverished nation plagued by food shortages to a middle-income country and World Trade Organization member. Despite lingering issues in the banking and state-run sector, gross domestic product (GDP) is growing faster than expected this year and analysts say Vietnam is one of the only countries in southeast Asia with swiftly rising exports.
Planners are trying to reshape massive state companies that dominate many sectors but, which experts say, hold back innovation and growth as well as breed corruption.