ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PM Tan Dung relected
Dung, the only candidate, received nearly 97% of the votes from the 493 newly elected legislators, said Vu Duc Manh, director of the National Assembly's Information Center.
In June 2006, the 57-year-old reformer became Vietnam's youngest prime minister since the country's reunification at the end of the Vietnam War. He had long been groomed for the job and has a record of fostering economic growth in recent years.
Vietnam's economy has grown an average of 7.5% per year in the past decade and the government wants the communist country to be an industrialized nation by 2020.
"He has a very ambitious agenda and we expect reform to accelerate rapidly over the next period," said Jonathan Pincus, chief economist of the United Nations Development Program in Hanoi.
Foreign businesses "have confidence in him and his leadership. Vietnam's foreign businesses are obviously optimistic about Vietnam," he said.
Pincus, however, said the country faces huge challenges that include the implementation of laws and removing obstacles for private business to flourish as the country strives to become an industrialized nation.
"He's well aware of the challenges. ... I think there is a general optimism within the international community in Hanoi that he will tackle them with a tremendous amount of energy," Pincus said.
Dung has been pushing for the privatization of some state-owned enterprises and has urged the speedy investigation of some major corruption scandals. The assembly also elected Nguyen Thi Doan, deputy head of the party's inspection commission, as vice president, Manh said.
Earlier this week, the legislators, who were elected in a May election, reappointed party ideologue Nguyen Phu Trong as National Assembly chairman while President Nguyen Minh Triet was also re-elected. On Aug. 2, the assembly is scheduled to approve a new Cabinet, which is expected to see the number of ministers reduced to 22 from the current 26. VNA