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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Early challenge for Vietnam PM
Nguyen Tan Dung
The new prime minister has promised to tackle corruption
Almost half the members of Vietnam's National Assembly have failed to support a proposal from the Prime Minister on his first day in office.

Assembly members were angry at a decision to allow the transport minister to retire without punishment.

Many felt he should take responsibility for a multi-million dollar corruption scandal in his ministry.

The Assembly has been a rubber stamp for the Communist Party, but is showing signs of independent thinking.

In the vote, 44% of its members either abstained or voted to reject a proposal by the new Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, to allow Transport Minister Dao Dinh Binh to retire along with his colleagues.

NEW FACES
Nguyen Tan Dung, 56, Prime Minister
Groomed for top by outgoing PM Phan Van Khai
Army background suggests politically conservative
Southerner thought to favour more economic reform

Nguyen Minh Triet, 63, President
Party chief in Ho Chi Minh City, reputed to favour economic openness
Was in charge when underworld figure Nam Cam tried and executed

Two weeks ago, in live televised question and answer sessions, members angrily accused Mr Binh of failing to stop the country's biggest corruption scandal.

Millions of dollars, some of it overseas aid, was skimmed off official road-building contracts and gambled on European football matches.

Mr Binh resigned and escaped punishment but many members wanted to make an example of him.

They failed and the Prime Minister won the vote - but such a significant show of dissent is unusual in Vietnamese politics.

It also marks an uncertain beginning for the prime minister's term of office.

He has promised to root out official corruption but has begun by letting one accused minister off the hook.


SEE ALSO
Vietnam confirms new leadership
27 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam minister quizzed on graft
14 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnamese PM names his successor
16 May 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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