Vietnam chooses leaders to steer economic course

Vietnam's Communist Party announced Tuesday that General Secretary Nong Duc Manh will be re-elected to a second term.

Manh, 65, retained his post as head of the party and the first among equals in the ruling triumvirate that includes the president and prime minister.

Communist Party officials announced the new Politburo lineup from inside Ba Dinh Hall, where a golden bust of the country's revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh holds a place of honor.

However, it was unclear who was chosen as president and prime minister. Traditionally, the top four positions in the Politburo belong to the general secretary, president, prime minister and national assembly chairman but in a departure from tradition, the Politburo members were not listed in order.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, 72, and President Tran Duc Luong, 68, were both slated to step down. Party insiders had said earlier that Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, 56, was favored to replace Khai; while Nguyen Minh Triet, 64, Ho Chi Minh City's party chief, was tapped to become president

The leadership faces the task of reining in deep-seated corruption while continuing with economic reforms that have transformed Vietnam into Southeast Asia's fastest-growing economy, reports the AP.

I.L.