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Vietnam's Parliament Approves New Prime Minister, President


Vietnam's parliament has approved a new prime minister and president as part of a planned leadership change by the ruling Communist Party.

Nguyen Tan Dung was elected today (Tuesday) to the post of prime minister by the one-party national assembly.

The prime minister is the second most powerful figure in Vietnam, after the general secretary of the Communist Party.

The 56-year-old Dung is the youngest prime minister since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975. He previously served as deputy to Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, who retired Saturday at age 72.

Vietnamese lawmakers also approved Nguyen Minh Triet as the country's new president, a largely ceremonial position.

Mr. Dung comes from the southern Vietnamese province of Ca Mau. As deputy prime minister he was responsible for economic and security affairs. He has also served as governor of the central bank, and has experience in the army and police force.

The new president, 63-year-old Mr. Triet, is currently Communist Party chief for the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City. He takes over from 69-year old President Tran Duc Luong, who served two five-year terms.

On Monday, lawmakers approved Nguyen Phu Trong as chairman of the national assembly. The 62-year-old Trong is the party chief for the capital, Hanoi, and is one of the government's leading enforcers of Marxist ideology.

Vietnam's new leaders are expected to strengthen a campaign against corruption, which experts say could undermine the country's economic growth.

Retiring Prime Minister Khai highlighted concerns about corruption in his outgoing speech to the assembly two weeks ago. He took responsibility for continued waste and graft, which he said threatens Vietnam's survival as a society.

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