Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

VIETNAM's ONE-PARTY RULE: AND SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY?

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

VIETNAM's ONE-PARTY RULE: AND SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY?

Article excerpt

Thaveeporn Vasavakul

Nineteen-ninety seven was an eventful year for Vietnam. Leadership changes took place in the National Assembly, the government, and the Politburo of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP). In July the people went to the polls to elect their representatives to the law-making body, but throughout the year Vietnamese farmers staged a series of protests, the largest so far, in reaction to rampant corruption and abuse of power by local party and state officials. Signs of an economic slow-down that had emerged in 1996 persisted into 1997, and the political leadership's hope for a higher growth rate was further frustrated by the financial crisis throughout Southeast Asia.

The debates in 1997 among party leaders over the rebuilding of a post-central planning political and economic order unfolded within the context of mounting domestic social and economic problems. The Third Plenum of the Central Committee in June focused on the reform of the administrative state and the promotion of socialist democracy. The Fourth Plenum of the Central Committee in December concentrated on socio-economic issues including capital mobilization, rural industrialization and co-operativization, the balance between export-oriented growth and import-substitution strategies, and socio-economic stratification. …

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