01/27/2021, 10.25
VIETNAM
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Nguyen Phu Trong confirmed for third term as Communist Party leader

The 76-year-old outgoing leader (and President of the Republic) confirmed at the top of the party. The country's successes include economic growth in a period of crisis and the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. Congress closes on February 2nd. For analysts and experts, the guidelines and the repression of activism in civil society will remain unchanged.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The 1600 delegates of the Vietnamese Communist Party, gathered in Congress in the capital Hanoi, have re-elected the current secretary (and president of the Republic) Nguyen Phu Trong, 76, to lead the party for a third consecutive term. This is what is revealed, behind anonymity, by

An anonymous source within the five-year assembly revealed the news that was reported by official state media while the nine-day session continues until February 2.

The party congress must define the future leadership and governance of the nation for the next five years, in the context of consolidated economic growth, a thus far effective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the tensions between China and the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. The eve of the meeting was characterized by further repression of dissent, with a campaign of arrests and convictions of activists and members of human rights NGOs by the current leadership.

Within the context of the global pandemic Vietnam has shown effective containment policies with only 1,500 cases and 35 victims since the start of the emergency a year ago. The economy also shows positive indices with a plus 2.9% in a regional (and global, except for China) context marked by recession and growing difficulties. So much so that the president and secretary of the Trong party himself called him "a shining star" in the world firmament.

The current leader seems destined to hold a third term at the head of the Party, a very rare event even in consideration of his advanced age, but in all likelihood he will have to leave the presidency of the Republic an unusual dual role held so far.

Vietnam is led by the so-called "four pillars": the head of the Communist Party, the president, the Prime Minister and the president of Parliament. However, the real power lies in the hands of the Politburo which controls the most important decisions (and appointments), also derogating from the rules on age limits, as happened in this situation where there is a high consensus around the person.

Trong has become famous in recent years for his fight against corruption, which has seen dozens of high-level officials - including a member of the Politburo - go to jail and face lengthy sentences. For many analysts and experts, in reality this campaign proved to be only a pretext to eliminate political opponents and strengthen the links of control over the country. "In the last five years - underlines Jonathan London, Vietnam expert at the Leiden Institute of Area Studies (Holland) - there has been an evident increase in the level of repression of the regime". And this reflects, he adds, "Trong's agenda aimed at disciplining the country and the party in an ever wider way".

Among the few rivals of the current leader is 66-year-old Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who has led economic growth and the fight against the new coronavirus. In all likelihood, he is destined to become the leader of the future, without however bringing major changes in terms of international policies and internal human (and civil) rights.

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