Countryaah website, the Communist Party continued to hold a firm
grip on Vietnamese politics, which became clear when new
members of the country's highest political body, Parliament Quôc hôi, were elected on May 19. No opposition parties were
allowed to stand in the elections, and the Communists won
all of the 498 seats except 51 who went to independent
candidates approved by the party.
Two months later, incumbent President Trân Đu迂c Lu迂o迂ng
was re-elected by Parliament for another five-year term.
Prime Minister Phan Văn Kai also had to keep his post. When
the government was later presented, the most attention was
paid to the resignation of Security Minister Le Minh Hu迂o迂ng
as a result of a corruption scandal surrounding a mafia
The country's economy was affected by the general
economic downturn in the world and growth slowed slightly
during the year. However, since the beginning of the 1990s,
Vietnam's economic growth has been around 7-8% per year with
the exception of 1997 and 1998, when the Asian financial
crisis hit the entire region.
An agreement was concluded during the year between the
parties to the conflict over the oil-rich Spratly Islands.
The agreement meant that the parties would not perform any
action that could aggravate the situation. In May, Russia
formally returned its fleet base in the Gulf of Cam Rhan to
Vietnam. The base was used by the Soviet Union during the
Cold War and was the largest military base outside the
During the year, Vietnam received criticism from human
rights groups for dealing with a group of members of a
Christian minority people in the mountains along the border
with Cambodia. The group had moved to Cambodia from Vietnam,
where they considered themselves persecuted and
discriminated against for ethnic and religious reasons.
Since the UN agency UNHCR gave up its attempts to return the
refugees to Vietnam, the dispute was resolved by giving the
refugees asylum in the US.