In South Vietnam, campaigning is in its final stages for the National Assembly elections on August 29.
In South Vietnam, campaigning is in its final stages for the National Assembly elections on August 29. On average, there are eight candidates for every available Lower House seat. So the competition is fierce. It's even hotter in Saigon where 175 candidates are contesting 13 seats.
Visnews cameraman Tran Huu Trong has been out in the streets of the South Vietnamese capital during the past week gathering eve-of-election impressions. His coverage is largely angled to illustrate some of the major issues in the election.
Foremost among these issues is, of course, the war. Anti-war candidates naturally make refugees and war veterans a principle target for canvassing. Hand-in-hand with this goes the economic situation -- the cost of living and living conditions. Then there's the problem of corruption (low paid government workers bitterly contesting the continuing graft of businessmen) and even the intervention of religious issues (the Buddhists are a rising force in the country's politics these days).
SYNOPSIS: In South Vietnam, the October Presidential election race has currently been eclipsed by the campaign for the National Assembly Nationwide voting is due on August 29th. Madame Tuong, canvassing in Cholon Market is one of over thirteen hundred candidates contesting a hundred and fifty two seats. That's about eight candidates per seat. Madame Tuong is campaigning on an international issue -- the cost of living.
But the South Vietnamese have their more individual election issues. Foremost among these is the continuing war. Huynh Tan, one of a hundred and seventy five candidates contesting a mere thirteen seats in Saigon, canvasses among war veterans and refugees. More extreme candidates are calling for an immediate end to so-called imperialist intervention and the "genocidal" war.
Another major issue resulting from the war is the plight of shanty-town inhabitants - refugees who once fled from the country to the city. Many politicians want these people returned to their farms now that the troops are back in control of much of the countryside.
Over a quarter of he candidates are servicemen. The rest mostly veterans, ex-civil servants or teachers.
This is their target, the Lower House, former French opera house. Many people feel that statue symbolises the role of the military in politics. There have even been cases of angry deputies waving pistols or grenades to make their point. But special attention will be focused on the re-emergence of the Buddhists as a political force to be reckoned with by supporters of Catholic President Thieu.
Finally, there's the old problem of corruption. These lower paid government workers are especially vehement in their claims that hundreds of rich army officers and businessmen are living off corruption.