October 26

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Oct 26, 1955:

Diem wins referendum in South Vietnam

Ngo Dinh Diem defeats Emperor Bao Dai in national referendum. In June 1954, Bao Dai had appointed Diem prime minister. In early 1955, Diem made a move to consolidate his power as the real ruler of Vietnam. Earlier in October, Bao Dai, then in France, tried to dismiss Diem, but Diem effectively ignored the order. Diem then called for an election for the people to choose their leader. Diem closely managed the election and received 98.2 percent of the vote. Using the referendum as justification, Diem proclaimed the Republic of Vietnam with himself as its first president. He also became Prime Minister, defense minister, and supreme commander of the armed forces. The new regime was recognized immediately by France, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Thailand, and South Korea.

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