The Ha Noi legislature convened on August 1 and elected key local officials for the capital which was on the same day expanded more than thrice its geographical size to become one of the 17 largest capital cities in the world.
Ha Noi, Viet Nam's capital, is now among the 17 largest capital cities in the world
During the first session of the People’s Council of the enlarged Ha Noi which now encompasses Ha Tay province and parts of Vinh Phuc and Hoa Binh provinces, house speaker Nguyen Phu Trong called for efficiency in reorganizing officials, managing land and unifying different regulations among the three former localities.
“There are many times in the past when Ha Noi’s size was adjusted but this is by far the biggest [adjustment], reflecting the [government’s] vision towards history of the whole nation, which creates condition and opportunities for the new Ha Noi to develop as a core political and economic hub”, he said.
The legislative leader asked the city to quickly draw up its urban zoning scheme and socio-economic development strategy, besides paying more attention to environment protection, cultural heritage conservation and improving living conditions.
Politburo member Pham Quang Nghi, who has just been elected as head of the Communist Party of the merged city, urged branches and agencies to further push up administrative reform, strengthen the fight against corruption and wastefulness.
At yesterday session, the new Council elected chairman of the former Ha Noi People's Committee Nguyen The Thao as the new mayor of the expanded city - labeled “new Ha Noi” by Vietnamese press.
Fifty-six-year-old Thao, who graduated from a university in Poland in 1976 majoring in architecture and currently holds a doctorate of economics, won the position with 93.03% in favor.
The legislative session also elected 8 deputy mayors: Dao Van Binh, Phi Thai Binh, Ngo Thi Thanh Hang, Hoang Manh Hien, Trinh Duy Hung, Vu Hong Khanh, Nguyen Van Khoi and Nguyen Huy Tuong.
Earlier, chairwoman of the former Council Ngo Thi Doan Thanh was elected head of the new council. Her two deputies are Le Quang Nhue (former deputy head of former Ha Noi’s council) and Nguyen Van Phuc, (former deputy head of Ha Tay province’s Council).
Today (August 2), the Council is expected to discuss social-economic, budget, security and national defense issues for the five remaining months of the year.
Last May, the National Assembly, the country’s unicameral legislature, ratified the expansion following a heated debate. Accordingly, the capital has been expanded 3.6 times to 3,300 square kilometers and its population doubled to 6.2 million.
Due to the extension, nine state bureaus have been relocated to Ha Dong in the former Ha Tay province including the Ha Noi Department of Transportation, of Science and Technology, of Agriculture and Rural Development, of Justice and the Ha Noi Inspectorate.
Then, around 20,000 seals belonging to government agencies, organizations and businesses in the new Ha Noi will have to be changed in addition to approximately 650,000 family identity books.
Officials said the task would take two years.
Around 2.2 million personal identity cards will also have to be altered, and will take four years. License plates of certain vehicles will likewise have to be changed.
In related news, as of December 28, 2008, the merged city will use the same fixed phone code – 04 throughout. Ha Tay’s code (034) will no longer exist as of that day.