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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 06:53 GMT 07:53 UK
Vietnamese PM names his successor
Outgoing PM Phan Van Khai
Mr Khai's announcement is part of a long-expected reshuffle
Vietnam's prime minister has announced he is to step down after serving two five-year terms in office.

Phan Van Khai said it was time to make way for a younger generation to lead the country, and nominated Deputy PM Nguyen Tan Dung, 56, as his successor.

He was the first Vietnamese prime minister to visit the US since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975.

The appointment is expected to be confirmed at the National Assembly meeting which began on Tuesday.

"I have asked to retire... we should let the younger generation lead," Mr Khai, who is 72, told reporters before the opening of the National Assembly, the six-week long meeting of the country's parliament.

The BBC's Bill Hayton in Hanoi says Nguyen Tan Dung is seen as an economic liberal.

In his opening address to the Assembly, Mr Dung acknowledged the country's impressive economic growth but also spoke of the country's difficulties, such as inequality.

The National Assembly is also likely to approve other changes to several top leadership positions, including the announcement of a new foreign minister and president.

Mr Khai had let it be known that he intended to give up his post at last month's Congress of Vietnam's ruling Communist party.

The Congress responded by dropping him from the party's leading body, the politburo.

Corruption focus

Apart from the cabinet reshuffle, the National Assembly may come under pressure to tackle several multi-million dollar corruption scandals which have rocked the Communist Party.

In particular, it is expected to report on what has become known as the "PMU 18" affair, in which some party members are accused of misusing millions of dollars of public funds on European football matches.

General-Secretary Nong Duc Manh described the accusations as a major threat to the ruling party's existence.

Mr Manh told the National Assembly the country needed to "accelerate the concerted fight against corruption, wastefulness and bureaucracy...This is the fight against one of the major dangers that do harm to our regime."

Mr Dung promised to do more to tackle corruption by improving the transparency of government and pledging to compensate people who suffer because of illegal decisions taken by officials.




SEE ALSO:
Vietnam re-appoints senior leader
25 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Crisis dogs Vietnam congress
18 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Communist debate grips Vietnam
02 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam ministry hit by scandal
04 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Gambling and graft in Vietnam
13 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Vietnam
03 Jan 06 |  Country profiles


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