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Vietnam's progressive PM not nominated for party leadership

[HANOI]Top decision-makers in Vietnam's ruling Communist Party have agreed on one nomination for each of the country's four key leadership posts, a top official said on Sunday, a line-up that excludes the country's powerful prime minister.

The nominations still require endorsement at the party's ongoing five-yearly congress, but add weight to speculation of a political exit for Nguyen Tan Dung, the pro-business premier widely considered a moderniser and credited with a wave of recent moves to liberalise the fast-growing economy.

Dung, 66, was until recently widely tipped by diplomats and analysts to become the next party chief, which could have strengthened the hand of his progressive faction.

His exit could slow the momentum of further reform, although experts say there is still an outside chance for him to mount a fightback during the congress by calling on his support among the wider party.