Where to from here for Vietnam?

Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong greets delegates upon his arrival for the opening ceremony of the 12th National Congress of Vietnam's Communist Party in Hanoi on 21 January 2016. Trong’s selection for the position of general secretary took many by surprise. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jonathan D. London, City University of Hong Kong

While Vietnam’s 12th Party Congress was billed as a contest for leadership of the party between sitting party secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and sitting prime-minister Nguyen Tan Dung, it might well be remembered as marking the beginning of a generational shift in the party’s top leadership. Read more…

Don’t bank on Vietnam’s financial reform

A man rides his motorbike which is loaded with bananas in Hanoi, Vietnam, 01 January 2016. (Photo AAP).

Author: Suiwah Leung, ANU

In architecture, there is a dictum that ‘form follows function’. The architect decides what a building is being used for and then designs the building for those purposes. In Vietnam’s process of economic reforms, the reverse is often the case Read more…

Vietnam’s pivot to the West?

A street vender walks down a street in Hanoi, Vietnam on 8 December 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Signing onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Atlanta last October and the high-level state visits of half the politburo to the United States put Vietnam in the international spotlight and, when the dust had settled, left the Southeast Asian diplomatic status quo profoundly shaken. Read more…

It’s time for domestic changes in Vietnam

A young girl rides past a poster promoting the 11th national congress of Vietnam's Communist Party in January 2011. The upcoming 12th Party congress, to be held in early 2016, will define Vietnam’s new economic and security posture. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thomas Jandl, VNU

In 2015 was Vietnam’s year to consolidate its diplomatic position in the international arena, 2016 will be crucial for bringing domestic political structures in line with the country’s new position in the global economic and security architecture. Read more…

Is Vietnam on the cusp of change?

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong speaks during a luncheon hosted by US Vice President Joe Biden at the Department of State in Washington, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: David Brown, California

Every five years, Vietnamese dare to hope that this time, the ruling Communist Party will take a chance on change.

Four successive party congresses have just kicked the ball down the road. They’ve redistributed positions mainly with a view to preserving factional balance. The leadership has been left deadlocked on core issues: Vietnam’s stance toward China and other powers, the state’s role in the economy and whether Party actions should be subject to review by independent judges. Read more…

Will Vietnam’s communist princelings deliver?

Vietnamese and Chinese communist youths wave flags to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hai Hong Nguyen, University of Queensland

The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) is preparing a new slate of leaders to replace the old guard who are retiring at the 12th National Congress in 2016. Public attention has been drawn to the rise of young ‘princelings’ — the children of current or former leaders in communist authoritarian regimes like Vietnam and China — to local executive positions and bodies. Read more…

Bloggers keep the windows open in Vietnam’s constitutional debates

A young woman uses social networking site Facebook on her phone in a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam on 2 September 2013. Political commentary on social media is slowing influencing the thinking of the Vietnamese Communist Party. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John Gillespie, Monash University

Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party is using the Seven Prohibitions to shut down discussion about liberal constitutional reform. In comparison, constitutional deliberations in Vietnam appear open, vibrant and far-reaching — prompting some commentators to speculate on whether Vietnam is a model for post-socialist institutional reform. Read more…