May 22 - Vietnam holds parliamentary elections, though analysts expect few surprises. Andrew Raven reports.
Vietnamese head to the polls for parliamentary elections. Residents across the country are casting ballots for about 500 open seats in the chamber. Vietnam's communist government hails the election as democracy in action. But the ruling Communist Party has carefully vetted candidates and redrawn districts in the leadup to the vote. And analysts expect the party to dominate. Still, voters hope newly-elected MPs will push for social and economic change. (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) 21-YEAR-OLD UNIVERSITY STUDENT, NGUYEN XUAN DUNG: "I hope the newly elected representatives will bring new reforms and changes by their fresh ideas to make our society a better one." Traditionally, the parliament has been a rubber stamp for Vietnam's elite Politburo. But in recent years, it has taken on a greater role, even shooting down a 56 billion dollar high-speed rail project. The election results are expected in about a week. Andrew Raven, Reuters.