P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: The National Assembly of Vietnam is understood to have agreed to allow Prime Minister Phan Van Khai to step down in accordance with his wishes. Mr. Khai had sought permission to resign, citing his old age as the cause for the move, and the National Assembly acceded to this on Saturday. In line with the recent decisions taken by the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) during its tenth congress, leadership changes at the political echelons of State President and National Assembly Chairman are also on the cards, according to regional diplomats and observers. The National Assembly, at its sitting in Hanoi on Saturday, decided to allow its Chairman Nguyen Van An and State President Tran Duc Luong to step down as well. The CPV's Hanoi chief Nguyen Phu Trong is expected to be the new National Assembly Chairman. Some key Ministries are also expected to have new chiefs following the prospective changes at the helm of state affairs.