Vietnam

The Ruling Communist Party and the Incubation of ‘New’ Political Forces

Authored by: Martin Gainsborough

Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415494274
eBook ISBN: 9780203155011
Adobe ISBN: 9781136579196

10.4324/9780203155011.ch9

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Abstract

Vietnam has been ruled in its entirety by the Vietnamese Communist Party since the country was reunified shortly after the end of the American war in 1975. Since that time, the Party has sought to prevent independent political parties from forming while also trying to keep other forms of social organization or popular expression under wraps. 1 Nevertheless, politics has not stood still, in part because of changes permitted by the Party but also because of the consequences of marketization and international integration which have led to social change and the emergence of new political forces. The latter can reasonably be said to include a more powerful business elite – still with close ties to the state even if in some cases it is operating under a ‘private sector’ label – a richer and more assertive middle class, and recently, new opposition groups and independent trade unions, the latter still illegal and of questionable influence in the greater scheme of things (Cheshier 2010; Gainsborough 2010: 9–24; Hayton 2010: 113–34; Wells-Dang 2010).

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