Vietnamese lawmakers disappoint reformers with constitution that reaffirms role of party

Vietnamese lawmakers have approved a revised constitution that reaffirms the dominant political and economic role of the Communist Party.

An early draft of the document had removed wording stipulating that the state must play a "leading role" in the economy.

That had led to hopes among some Vietnamese of reform in a country where economic growth has stuttered in recent years.

But version passed Thursday in Hanoi reinstated that wording.

It also said the Communist Party was the "leading force of the state and society," apparently dashing any hopes of political reform.

The new charter was passed by 97.6 percent of the nearly 500-member national assembly.

More than 90 percent of the assembly members belong to the Communist Party.