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June 23, 1971 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-23

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Wednesday, June 23, 1971


Page Five

Wensa, Jn23191T-EMCIA DALPaeFv


3 seek top Vi

South Vietnam's presidential
election, scheduled for Oct. 3, is
shaping up as a bitter race be-
tween incumbent President Ngu-
yen Van Thieu, vice president
Nguyen Cao Ky and retired Gen.
Duong Van "Big" Minh.
Several recent incidents have
set the mood for the upcoming
contest. As South Vietnam cele-
brated Armed Forces Day last
week, Thieu and Ky appeared to-
gether in public for the first time
in several months-their appear-
ance marked by strictly formal
handshakes, icy glances and not
a word exchanged between the
two candidates.
The apparent cause of this ill
feeling between the pair, who
were never on good terms dur-
ing their four-year regime, was
a stinging speech by Ky which
blasted the Thieu "dictatorship"
as being worse than a Communist
dictatorship "because it is dis-
The armed forces, declared
Ky, "cannot be strong because
of the plague of corruption. The
present military strength is a
phony strength that can collapse
at any moment."
"To achieve social revolution,"
he continued "we must have
frank and courageous people who
will not cover up corrupt prac-
tices, especially those of re-
sponsible leaders. If we want the
true strength needed to be self-
sufficient and self-reliant and to
oppose the Communists, an inter-
nal revolution in our society is
"The strength of the armed
forces depends on the progress
and results of the social revolu-
tion. A rotten and corrupt society
cannot produce or support a
strong armed force."
Copies of 15 Saigon newspapers
carrying Ky's speech were con-

fiscated by police last week for
printing the speech which the
government called "a threat to
national security and detrimental
to the morale and fighting spirit
of the armed forces."
Thieu is currently a minority
president whose victory in the
1967 elections consisted of little
more than 34 per cent of the vote
in a contest among 11 candidates.
In what many observers have

t post
members of the National Assem-
bly or by 100 members of the
country's municipal or provincial
councils - has been viewed by
observers as being chiefly aimed
at undermining the potential can-
didacy of Vice-president Ky.
While the language of the bill
is a bit softer than the election
laws which were in effect in 1967,
the bill bars from candidacy
"those who have worked for
communism or pro - communist
neutralism." This provision is
based on the constitution, which
outlaws communism.
In the National Assembly's
House of Representatives three
weeks ago, Ky's supporters
joined with other opposition ele-
ments in a desperate attempt to
defeat the measure. During de-
bate, one Ky supporter drew a
pistol and brandished a grenade
at backers of the bill, while other
legislators roamed about the hall
waving sidearms and bawling de-
nunciations at one another.
Order was soon restored by
police and the legislation passed
by a vote of 101 to 21.
Observers have hesitated to re-
gard the official tally as a gauge
of the measure's popularity.
Many of the legislators who voted
in favor of the measure had, as
one Saigon observer put it,
"somewhere between 500,000 and
700,000 good reasons to be hap-
py - one for each of the piasters
he had received to vote for the
measure," the equivalent of
about $1350 to $1850 on the black
Soon after the passage of the
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Nguyen Van Thieu
viewed as being Thieu's determi-
nation to win an outright ma-
jority in the upcoming election,
his government recently pushed a
bill through the National Assem-
bly that would limit the nm'itber
of candidates allowed to run for
the presidency.
The bill - which requires can-
didates to post a two million
piasters ($7,400) election fee and
to be endorsed by at least 40

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