New leadership from south region

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2006, 12:00am

Vietnam's inner circle of power has a distinctly southern, younger, and more business-friendly face after yesterday's conclusion of the Communist Party congress.

Seven of the 14 newly announced members of the elite Politburo are from the entrepreneurial south of the country, including Nguyen Minh Triet the man tipped to become the next president.

For more than four years, the 63-year-old, has been head of the powerful party committee in Ho Chi Minh City. If confirmed by the National Assembly, he will take over from the retiring Tran Duc Luong, 69.

The average age of the new Politburo is five years younger than the outgoing one. If the new leadership is ratified as expected, two of the three top men will be from the south - a departure from the Vietnamese convention of having each of the north, central and southern regions represented in the senior leadership.

Under the nominated set-up, the only direct representation for the northern political capital of Hanoi would be Nguyen Phu Trong. Mr Trong, 62, head of the Hanoi party committee, is tipped to be the new chairman of the National Assembly, as well as to hold the Politburo's No4 position.