16 Jan '11, 6am

Vietnam braces for new leader

HANOI: Vietnam's ruling communists will vote Monday on who will lead the country for the next five years as the nation's focus intensifies on overhauling its troubled economic growth model. Observers say the country faces major economic challenges, and they are closely watching for any signs of change in a political system that they see as slowly evolving despite its historic rigidity. Foreign donors and analysts cite immediate challenges including soaring inflation, a struggling currency, a trade deficit and inefficiency among state-owned enterprises -- a key pillar of the economy. Monday's vote is expected to elevate 66-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong to general secretary -- the top position within the Communist Party. Some party sources say he is close to China, Vietnam's neighbour and ideological ally. Despite signs of an internal power struggle 61-year-old Prime Minister Ng...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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