Continuity Seen as Vietnam Approves New Cabinet

Posted August 3rd, 2011 at 3:20 am (UTC-5)
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Vietnam's National Assembly has approved a new cabinet dominated by supporters of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

The lineup, approved Wednesday, includes new ministers or agency chiefs in 15 of the 22 posts, but many stepped up from deputy positions and analysts saw little evidence of a change in direction.

The assembly also approved four deputy prime ministers, two of them new to the post. All are considered loyal to Mr. Dung, who was elected to a second five-year term last week.

The key post of finance minister went to Vuong Dinh Hue, a Russian-trained state auditor, who will be charged with reining in one of the world's highest inflation rates. His selection was seen as a signal the government wants to keep a closer watch on state enterprises after the shipbuilder Vinashin collapsed amid massive debts last year.

The appointments come a day after a Vietnamese appeals court affirmed a seven-year prison sentence for prominent dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu.

The U.S. State Department criticized the ruling Tuesday, urging the government to immediately release Vu and other prisoners of conscience.