Vietnam elects communist party leader as president

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Vietnam's General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong applauds at the opening ceremony of the 12th National Congress of Vietnam's Communist Party in Hanoi, Vietnam, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s National Assembly has elected ruling Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the architect of an ongoing crackdown on corruption, as the country’s new president.

The election was largely procedural as the party had unanimously nominated him as the only candidate for the position earlier this month.

Mr Trong, 74, became the first Vietnamese leader to hold the two titles since founding president and revolutionary Ho Chi Minh.

Former president Tran Dai Quang died on Sept. 21 after a prolonged illness.

Mr Trong, who became party boss in 2011, has presided over a crackdown on corruption that has seen state executives and a member of the politburo face trial over allegations of financial mismanagement and embezzlement.

He is expected to maintain relations with China and the United States, Vietnam’s two top trading partners, but would not lean towards either.

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