HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Ahead of President Barack Obama’s first visit to Vietnam, the country is voting in once-every-five-year-elections for a rubber-stamp parliament whose membership has already been largely determined by the Communist Party.
There’s high hope for Obama’s visit. Vietnam’s government wants him to lift an arms export embargo so it can better deal with China over maritime disputes. And human rights activists want him to hold to account a repressive one-party state seen as treating its critics abysmally.
Voting was to close later Sunday, hours before Obama’s arrival, and the results for elections to the 500-seat National Assembly are expected to be announced within 20 days. But they are mostly a formality: The Communist Party has already chosen who runs and how many non-Party members have seats, according to Human Rights Watch.
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