Le Duan (lā dwän) [key], 1908–86, Vietnamese Communist party leader. Imprisoned by the French colonial regime, he organized Communist forces in the South after the French withdrawal from Vietnam in 1954 and became first secretary of North Vietnam's Communist party in 1959. After Ho Chi Minh's death (1969), Le Duan emerged as the leader of North Vietnam's ruling collective. In 1976, after Vietnam's reunification, he was renamed party leader and served until his death.
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