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Vietnam's 9 outstanding political, social events in 2018

Updated at Monday, 24 Dec 2018, 13:00
The Hanoitimes - Nguyen Phu Trong`s election as Vietnam`s president and trade surplus at a 10-year record high are among the outstanding events.
Political and social highlights of 2018 have been selected by newswire VnExpress and here they are. 

1. Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) was elected President with 99.79% of votes in the context that the position was vacant. 


In Vietnam, a person heading both the party and state dates back 32 years ago. 
 
President Nguyen Phu Trong. Photo: VNS
President Nguyen Phu Trong. Photo: VNS
2. President Tran Dai Quang passed away on September 21 at the age of 61 due to an unnounced disease. His disease was diagnosed in July 2017 and worsened during one year before his death. 

In the same year, Vietnam held national funerals for late CPV chief Do Muoi and PM Phan Van Khai.
 
Late President Tran Dai Quang at an event. Photo: Vnexpress
Late President Tran Dai Quang at an event. Photo: Vnexpress
3. In June, the National Assembly (NA) halted draft Law on Special Economic Zone which would allow the establishment of special economic zones namely Van Don in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Bac Van Phong in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa where Cam Ranh military base is located, and Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang. 

With six chapters and 85 articles, the bill would create a legal framework favoring the business investment and operations through the exemption of many tax lines, and maximum land lease duration of 99 years, triggering concerns about the risk of compromising national defense and security. 
 
Map of three drafted special economic zones. Photo: Vnexpress
Map of three drafted special economic zones. Photo: Vnexpress
4. In November, the NA approved the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which includes 11 members having total gross domestic product (GDP) of US$10 trillion, making up 13% of the global GDP. 

The agreement, which will take effect at the end of December, is expected to help raise Vietnam’s GDP by 1.32% and exports by 4.04% by 2035. But the partnership will challenge Vietnam in terms of labor institutions, public procurement, state-owned management, and intellectual property rights. 
 
Representatives of 11 CPTPP members. Photo: Reuters
Representatives of 11 CPTPP members. Photo: Reuters
5. Frauds in test scores at high-school national exam were disclosed in three northern mountainous provinces of Ha Giang, Son La, and Hoa Binh. Police initiated investigations into ten officials for “influence peddling” charges. 

6. Vietnam’s trade surplus hit the 10-year record high of US$7.4 between Jan and Nov, compared to US$2.92 billion in 2017. As of November 30, the country’s total exports reached US$223.7 billion, up 14.5% on year.

7. Wrongdoings in Thu Thiem peninsula have left dozens of thousands of residents miserable and homeless. Initiated in 1996, Thu Thiem peninsula planning is designed to be the most beautiful urban complex in Southeast Asia. But mismanagement and wrongdoings of Ho Chi Minh City’s senior leaders for years have left the zone in chaos and wild. 
 
A resident in Thu Thiem. Photo: Vnexpress
A resident in Thu Thiem. Photo: Vnexpress
8. Lieut. Gen Phan Van Vinh and Major General Nguyen Thanh Hoa were sentenced to 9 and 10 years in jail, respectively, and also expelled from the Party for covering up the biggest-ever disclosed online gambling ring. The sentence for Vinh, who was head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Police Department, indicates the CPV and state’s tough moves against corruption. 
Former Lieut. Gen Phan Van Vinh at a court in Nov. Photo: Dan Tri
Former Lieut. Gen Phan Van Vinh at a court in Nov. Photo: Dan Tri
9. Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2018 is estimated to hit 7.0%, a record high since 2008, stated Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the Vietnam Business Forum held in Hanoi early December. 
 
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo
The prospect may enable Vietnam to achieve the growth rate of 6.8% and more in 2019, according to the World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam Ousman Dione. 
Linh Pham
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