Vietnamese speak about their expectations from new leaders

AP News
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Posted: Jan 24, 2016 2:57 AM
Vietnamese speak about their expectations from new leaders

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam is holding an eight-day congress to choose new set of leaders who will govern for the next five years. Only about 4.5 million of Vietnam's 93 million people are party members, but the party has the constitutional right to rule, and its leaders are chosen in a secretive process in which the general public have no say.

A selection of views on what people expect from the new leaders:

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"I'm scared of police more than my parents beating me when I did something wrong when I was a kid. I don't care about who will be the new leaders, but I just hope that the new leaders will help people like me to find a job so that I don't have to sell fruits on the streets." — Tran Thi Nhan, 35, fruit seller.

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"I do hope that the new leaders will introduce some major changes to the country, but I doubt that we are going to be happy. In Vietnam, it's collective leadership style and it's very slow for them to make a decision." — Pham Bich Diep, 47, office secretary.

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"I just want the country to have political stability, so that everybody can do their business. Over the past few years, Vietnam has signed or concluded a series of free trade agreements including the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the free trade agreements with the EU that will open opportunity for the country and businesses." — Do Ninh, 36, businessman.

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"Things will be the same, I don't expect the new leaders will do something major. (...) I understand that Vietnamese leaders are in difficult positions to deal with Chinese, but they should get tougher on Chinese and they should sue China at an international court like what the Philippines did. Vietnam should have closer ties economically and militarily with the U.S. to help balance its relations with China." — Nguyen Van Cu, 62, retiree.

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"In countries with a multi-party system, I would have a say in choosing who will lead the country, but in Vietnam, I have no say in choosing our leaders. A bunch of Communist Party officials will choose the country's leaders. Who will be the leaders does not matter much to me, my life will be the same." — Nguyen Van Hung, 55, construction engineer.

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"I have no hope in the new leadership. People have been fed up with what they said, people just want to see what they said would be translated into reality." — Phan Ngoc Dung, 65, retiree.

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This story corrects number of party members.