Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

The Phan Van Khai Cabinet Government

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

The Phan Van Khai Cabinet Government

Article excerpt

In September 1997 a new Cabinet government was announced. Deputy Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, aged sixty-four, replaced Vo Van Kiet as prime minister and appointed five deputy ministers including Nguyen Manh Cam, Nguyen Cong Tan, Pham Gia Khiem, Nguyen Tan Dung, and Ngo Xuan Loc.16

The Phan Van Khai Cabinet deserved a technocrat label. Khai himself studied in Moscow at the National Economics University and after his return to Vietnam assumed economic planning posts. He worked under the patronage of Vo Van Kiet in Ho Chi Minh City in 1975, headed Ho Chi Minh City's planning commission in 1979, became its deputy party secretary in 1985 and was selected to head the State Planning Commission in Hanoi in 1989. He was elected a member of the Politburo in 1991 and became deputy prime minister in 1992.

Khai's appointment of five deputies was evidence of decentralization of authority at the highest level. Each of his deputies was assigned to oversee clusters of key policy sectors: Nguyen Manh Cam for foreign affairs; Nguyen Cong Tan for rural development; Pham Gia Khiem for science, technology, and environment; Nguyen Tan Dung for economic affairs; and Ngo Xuan Loc for industry and construction. Observers speculated that this move to decentralize would help to expedite the decision-making process at the top level. …

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