Vietnam Government - Vietnam Information0
A socialist country, Vietnam is under the leadership of the Communist Party, which holds a national congress every five years to outline the country's future course, and formalise policies. The 450 member National Assembly - also open to non-party members - is the supreme organ of state, and the only body with constitutional and legislative power. The National Assembly elects the President of the State and the Prime Minister
The President has the right to nominate candidates for a number of key positions, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court, and the Procurator-General of the People's Office of Supervision and Control. The National Assembly then approves nominees. The Prime Minister, who is charged with the day-to-day handling of the Government, has the right to nominate and dismiss the members of his cabinet, though only with the approval of the National Assembly. He also has at his disposal the power to cancel or suspend decisions or directives issued by the ministries.
Curent policies reflect a flexible, less authoritarian approach. Vietnam is now becoming a freewheeling and dynamic society.
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Recent economic progress in Vietnam has been remarkable, with the country becoming not only self sufficient, but one of the world's largest exporters of rice. Less severely affected than its neighbours by the Asian economic crash of 1997, its 1999 growth rate of 4.5% was one of the highest in East Asia. The country has little external debt, and the World Bank predicts GDP growth could top 7% by 2002. However, it is still one of the poorest countries in the world
The Vietnamese economy is dominated by agriculture, which employs over 60% of the labour force, and comprises 40% of total exports. Though rice is the main agricultural product, the country also produces maize, sweet potato, vegetables, yam and beans. The fishery sector is also becoming an important source of foreign exchange earnings and Vietnam is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of coffee.
Rich in natural resources, with most of its reserves relatively untapped, coal is Vietnam's second most important mineral in terms of export earnings, after petroleum. Vietnam became an oil-producing nation in 1986. The country also has reserves of manganese and titanium ore, chromite, bauxite, apatite, tin, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, graphite, mica and a small quantity of gold. The industrial sector is also an important contributor to the country's economy, employing about 12% of the labour force. Manufacturing industries include food processing, textiles and leather, building materials, packaging, wood processing and paper, engineering and chemicals.
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