Author Topic: Term Limits? Not for Vietnamís Hard-Line Communist Leader  (Read 1404 times)


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Term Limits? Not for Vietnamís Hard-Line Communist Leader
« on: February 16, 2021, 03:19:48 PM »
Term Limits? Not for Vietnamís Hard-Line Communist Leader

Nguyen Phu Trong, 76, was named to a third term in office as party leaders were unable to reach consensus on a successor. The reappointment may have put off a transition to more pragmatic leadership.

By Richard C. Paddock
Feb. 1, 2021

BANGKOK ó Under the rules of Vietnamís Communist Party, its chief is to step aside at age 65 or after two terms. The countryís dogmatic leader, Nguyen Phu Trong, would not qualify for reappointment on either count.

But that didnít prevent the party from cementing his rule as it concluded its once-every-five-years congress on Monday, giving him a third term in an effort to project unity and hold off more pragmatic challengers.

Mr. Trong, 76, in frail health after 10 years at the partyís helm, was reappointed as general secretary in one of the worldís few remaining communist dictatorships. Known for his conservative ideological stance, Mr. Trong has made fighting high-level corruption a priority, and he has presided at a time of sustained economic growth and national success in containing the coronavirus.

Under his leadership, Vietnam is expected to maintain a foreign policy of balancing Chinese and American interests, while keeping the partyís grip at home by continuing to suppress dissent through the imposition of long prison sentences.

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Granting Mr. Trong a third five-year term to handle these issues as general secretary meant going against the partyís own rules limiting him to two terms in office and waiving the age limit for him for the third time.

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Mr. Trong represents a conservative Marxist-Leninist faction within the party, which has come under increasing pressure from more pragmatic Communist leaders of various factions.

He had chosen a favored subordinate as his designated successor, but the party rejected his nominee. Mr. Trong chose to stay on as general secretary rather than let the leader of a rival faction accede to the top post.

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