Hanoi: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was given a second term at the Communist country's helm on Tuesday as the nation tries to overcome economic woes that deepened under his watch.

The lawmaking National Assembly confirmed Dung's appointment after he received 94 percent of the vote as the sole candidate. However, the position had already been decided by the Communist elite during the secretive Party Congress in January.

Dung, 61, is a former Central Bank Governor and is considered a reformer, but the country, one of the fastest growing in Asia, has been slammed with growing economic woes during his tenure.

It is battling huge trade and current account deficits, a weak currency and double-digit inflation that is squeezing the country's poor by driving up food prices.

Dung survived a high-profile scandal involving a state-owned shipbuilding conglomerate that nearly collapsed last year due to mismanagement.

It was mired in debts estimated at USD 4.5 billion or about 4.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2009.

Under Dung's leadership, international human rights groups and US diplomats accused Vietnam of taking a tougher stance against political dissidents, including those peacefully expressing their views online.

Hanoi does not tolerate any threat to its one-party rule, and people can be jailed for publicly calling for a multi-party system.

Ahead of Dung's announcement on Tuesday, one of Vietnam's most famous democracy activists, ailing Catholic priest Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, 64, was returned to jail more than a year after being released on medical parole, a prison official said on condition of anonymity, citing policy. Ly was living in a church in central Hue, but sent to a prison outside the northern capital, Hanoi.

(Agencies)