Viet Nam: Voting Out The Old Guard

Voting Out The Old Guard

On the surface, the election seemed typical for a hard-line Communist regime. Voice of Viet Nam Radio reported that balloting for a new National Assembly produced a standard 99.32% voter turnout, and the winners dutifully mouthed socialist pieties. But in fact last week's balloting may herald a new era of economic and political reform for the beleaguered Vietnamese.

Voters chose 496 National Assembly representatives from among 829 candidates. Instead of being handpicked by top party officials, many candidates were selected by grass-roots organizations at public meetings, where disastrous economic policies that have made Viet Nam one of the world's poorest countries...

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