East Asia Forum has published Dr. Alexander Vuving’s latest article titled “Why Trong’s re-election doesn’t spell the end for reform in Vietnam.”

Vuving discusses the complex evolution of the Vietnamese Community Party, particularly after the January election campaign that saw General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong defeat Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for the party’s leadership.  He addresses the governing philosophies at play in the election and in the broader development of Vietnam’s political system.

The author argues against the common belief that Trong is a conservative who leads the pro-China faction, while Dung is a reformer who advocates pro-US policies.  This belief has led to the false expectation that with Trong re-elected and Dung retiring, Vietnam will slow down economic and political reform, stop its pivot to the United States and move closer to China.

The author explains, however, that, though a conservative, Trong behaves like a reformer at times.  He has promoted modernizers who place national development before and above VCP survival.

“Although the key choice at the 12th Party Congress was between two individuals, the key contest was between two broad coalitions,” Vuving writes.  “Dung’s allies were mostly rent-seekers, modernizers and moderates.  Trong was backed by…party survivalists, modernizers and moderates, with only some rent-seekers in the mix.”

Vuving touches briefly on how the election’s results could affect Vietnam-U.S. relations.

The full article is available at http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/04/05/why-trongs-re-election-doesnt-spell-the-end-for-reform-in-vietnam/.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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