The 2007 National Assembly (NA) election in Vietnam inspired the imagination of observers. New electoral procedures boded well for increased competition and representation. This article probes this outcome, providing a detailed account of how the Vietnamese electoral process works in practice. It concludes that despite well-publicized institutional changes, the composition of the post-election NA still reflects a preplanned script and even possesses slightly smaller shares of non-party members and self-nominated candidates than in previous years. Nevertheless, the authors found some room for optimism in the unprecedented rejection of central nominees, primarily in wealthy, donor provinces.

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