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Identifying manifestations of violations in the exercise of power at all stages of cadre personnel work

(PTOJ) - Violations in the performance of cadre personnel work are a phenomenon that has aroused strong passions among the people and caused a lot of negative phenomena and consequences in the organization of the Party apparatus and public authorities, undermining the prestige, role, leadership capacity, and combat power of the Party, the performance of the State agencies, as well as the people’s trust in the Party and the socialist regime. The article contributes to identifying and analyzing some manifestations of violations in the exercise of power at key stages in cadre personnel work process.

1. Violations in cadre personnel work

Although the Party has promulgated many resolutions, rules, and regulations to prevent violations in cadre personnel work, there have been prolonged phenomena of the abuse of power to appoint cadres from one’s own faction or one’s relatives to certain positions in the government apparatus; of arbitrary cadre placement and appointment for bribery; of bribing for job appointment and promotion; of negative attitudes and behaviours in cadre policy execution; and so on, with more sophisticated and complicated contrivances.

The resolution of the 12th National Party Congress at its 7th session (2018) on “Focusing on building cadre contingents at all levels” has stated that: “There are times and places where the cadre management work is sloppy [...] Job assignment, level decentralization, and power decentralization are not yet associated with responsibility constraints and the increase in inspection and supervision, and there is no mechanism strong enough to strictly control power”(1).

Power control is the key for the Party to overcome the limitations and defects in the cadre personnel work. However, in order to control power, the Party must first properly identify violations in the exercise of power at all stages of cadre personnel work.

In social life, the term “violation” is used quite widely and universally to refer to actions that go against the law, regulations, rules, conventions, common sense, morality, and norms. “Violation” is also defined as the act of infringing upon and appropriating the things and interests of other people and collectives; of doing things that are outside one’s authority or forbidden for the selfish interests of oneself, one’s family, and one’s factions. These actions are wrong doings, harming the common interests of collectives and communities for personal gain.

Violations in the exercise of power are the acts of abusing assigned power, disregarding collectives, and violating the law and regulations for personal gain and purposes.

In cadre personnel work, violations in the exercise of power are actions that abuse the authority of organizations and individuals, contravene the principles, regulations, and processes in recruitment, selection, placement, management, assessment, planning, training, nurturing, appointment, dismissal, candidate nomination, mobilization, rotation, commendation, discipline, inspection, supervision, settlement of complaints and denunciations, and implementation of cadre regimes and policies.

The essence of violations in cadre personnel work is the excess of authority, abuse of power, autocratic arbitrariness, disregard for the State regulations and laws, for collectives, and for Party principles, of which the most obvious manifest is the disregard for the principles of democratic centralism.

Violations of the exercise of power in cadre personnel work come in different degrees and levels. According to practical research and analysis of such violations, they can be classified into 3 levels:

Level 1: Violations with no serious consequences may include acts of intentional exploitation, self-serving, and opportunism for personal gain; they can also be unintentionally harmful behaviors not motivated by self-interest but rather by mutual respect, affection, and help among friends and family members.

Level 2: Level-2 violations are acts of abusing power to break the law. These are deliberate and conscious actions taken despite full awareness of their immorality, driven by evident self-interest and group interests. The manifestations of these violations are the attempts to take advantage of one’s assigned power to benefit oneself, one’s family, and interest groups; to exploit the legal and regulatory loopholes to conceal and legitimize their infractions. Society has strongly condemned the phenomenon of recruitment and appointment following the “right processes” but not with “the right people,” failing to choose talented and virtuous candidates.

This type of behavior is complex, sophisticated, and difficult to identify. It is frequently committed based on close relationships, links with which to take advantage of one another, disguised in many forms such as phone calls, handwritten letters, birthday or housewarming gifts, wedding or funeral gifts, and so on, which are in fact bribes, favor-currying presents to buy one’s promotion or legal impunity, to mutually negotiate, collude, or implicitly make an agreement, to bargain, trade interests with one another for “reciprocity” or “promoting one’s own descendants with others’ power”. It’s all covered up in the form of “due processes” and “right principles”.

Level 3: Level-3 violations are the acts of blatant excess of power, disregard for State regulations and laws, disdain for Party principles, particularly the principles of democratic centralism, and disrespect for collectives in the implementation of cadre personnel work. Despite being fully aware of the law, people who commit these violations use all contrivances and acts of abusing their power and positions for personal gain, due to their possession of power and obsession with opportunism, individualism, greed, and the interests of themselves, their families, and factions.

Some of the recent major cases involving prosecuted senior cadres are typical cases of power excess, with a series of serious infractions at all stages of cadre personnel process from selection, assessment, appointment, planning, rotation, and so on, showing the powerful office-holders’ disregard for State regulations and laws, collectives, and Party principles.

The resolution of the 6th National Party Congress at its 5th session on “Some Urgent Issues in Party Building Work” has pointed out the direction to overcome the phenomena of lacking democracy, power abuse, and monopoly in cadre personnel work as below: “It is necessary to overcome the notion that the work of the cadre organization is the personal responsibility of a few people in a limited scope and that making decisions for the whole collective only needs the opinions of some people or even just a few people”(2). However, these phenomena have persisted in cadre personnel work for a long time without being properly conquered and controlled.

2. Manifestations of violations in the exercise of power at all stages of cadre personnel work

Cadre personnel work consists of numerous steps and stages, each of which has separate content but is linked and has causal relationships with one another. The impact on one stage will affect another, so it is difficult to separate the stages of the cadre personnel work.

Within the scope of this article, we will mention and identify the basic manifestations of violations in the main stages of the cadre personnel work as below:

Firstly, the cadre recruitment and selection process:

In terms of cadre recruitment: According to the 2008 Law on Cadres and Civil Servants, the recruitment of cadres and civil servants must be conducted openly and democratically with proper recruitment examinations based on job descriptions, job positions, job demands, the correctly assigned payroll and processes, etc.

However, in reality, violations in cadre recruitment have manifested themselves in the “ask-give” mechanism, which still allows some “cadres” to get tenure on the payroll without passing the entrance exams. In essence, the mechanism allows office-power-duty holders to abuse their power to grant favors and find ways to connect and collude with one another in bribing and exchanging interests in order to bring their family members, relatives, and those under their factions onto the payroll of the government apparatus without going through any democratic and public recruitment examination, selection process, or probationary period, not in accordance with recruitment needs, regulations, and policies.

Violations of power in cadre recruitment have also manifested themselves in arbitrary performance in work to increase recruitment needs and expand the payroll, in order to get one’s relatives into the government apparatus; exploiting payroll reorganization to eliminate good and talented cadres and hire people from one’s own factions; and unfair job placement based on personal motivations rather than job demands and expertise requirements.

As for the cadre selection: The principle of cadre selection is to choose the virtuous candidates with the right talents based on their competences and fortes through well-organized and fair competitive examinations. The form of cadre selection (the form of recruitment examination) must be democratic, public, fair, and objective, ensuring the principles of democratic centralism and enhancing the responsibilities of the heads at committee level in cadre selection.

However, in reality, with some cases, these principles are not strictly implemented due to violations in the exercise of power by some people in high positions of authority to benefit themselves, their families, their “interest groups,” and so on, which have mainly manifested themselves in the arbitrary establishment of criteria, standards, organizations, and units to select and appoint unqualified and incompetent people to tenured positions or to enjoy preferential regimes, standards, and policies for State officials.

Secondly, candidate nomination and cadre appointment, organization, and placement:

Violations in the work of candidate nomination and cadre appointment, organization, and placement are the most prominent and disturbing phenomena in cadre personnel work today. Our Party has repeatedly mentioned the phenomenon of “bribing for job appointment and promotion” in cadre personnel work. Similarly, the phenomenon of “the sale of offices” by some office-power holders has been the subject of much discussion among the public. The question is why there is such a phenomenon and why it still exists despite being a negative phenomenon that destroys the Party’s essence, prestige, reputation, and strength. Essentially, this phenomenon stems from power manipulation and excess, disregard for collectives, and serious violations of the principles of democratic centralism by some office-power holders.

According to the Party’s Regulations, the right to appoint cadres is decided by the authorities at the committee level on the basis of fully promoting the responsibilities and power of each member, especially the heads of the agencies or units. Cadre appointment shall be derived from the demands and missions of agencies and units, based on the moral qualities, competences, and strengths of cadres as well as the criteria of their professional titles, to accordingly organize and assign cadres, ensure the stability, succession, and development of contingents of cadre, and improve the quality and performance of agencies and units.

However, in reality, there are places and agencies where violations in the work of candidate nomination, cadre appointment, organization, and placement are motivated by personal will, resulting in negative phenomena and corruption.

The signs of power violations in the work of candidate nomination and cadre appointment, organization, and placement have been shown in the following aspects:

1) Under the guise of cadre rotation, planning, and nomination for training or strengthening the cadre forces of grassroots agencies, the violators transfer the effective cadres to other places and “create vacancies” for people from their factions to fill without reporting to the authorities at the committee level or getting collective approvals. In other cases, they report the job appointments and obtain collective approvals as the formality fronts to hide their true intentions. Fundamentally, it is the exploitation and abuse of power to satisfy personal or factional motives and purposes.

2) Iin the name of “apparatus reorganization,” the violators transfer or redeploy cadres to get rid of those under other factions and put those under their own faction in key positions. As a result, effective cadres are transferred, reorganized, and redeployed; some agencies with an excess number of cadre and insufficient posts have to accept more cadres; or cadres with professional competence in certain fields are transferred or reassigned to other positions in other fields that don’t match their expertise and fortes. There are still some disciplined cadres reassigned, transferred, or even promoted to higher positions by their superiors, and so on. All of them are manifestations of power abuse in cadre personnel work.

3) In the name of “direction and orientation,” the violators impose their subjective opinions on their collectives. Whenever there is an upcoming congress for elections or appointments, some senior cadres, under the guise of “direction,” often introduce the achievements, professional qualifications, the process of devotion to work, and so on, of their relatives and their faction’s officials to suggest their subordinates add them to the candidate list for elections and appointments without the collective approvals of the collectives at the committee level or at the standing committee level and not in accordance with the criteria, procedures, and regulations of the election or appointment process.

4) Despite strict regulations and detailed instructions on the work of elections and getting votes of confidence, such as compulsory competition and “having more than half of the votes,” officials must be part of the cadre planning process, and so on, some senior cadres find ways to eliminate qualified cadres in order to promote those in their factions. Some cadres who won a majority in elections have languished for years on the cadre planning list without receiving any appointment or promotion, with the usual excuses of “vote of confidence is for reference” or “not experienced enough,” etc.

Thirdly, cadre planning, training, rotation, and mobilization:

Our Party does have the right policies of planning, training, nurturing, and rotating cadres. However, violators who abuse their power in cadre personnel work, opportunists, corrupt cadres, and interest groups have exploited these policies to benefit themselves and their interest groups. People and the media also often refer to “bribery for cadre planning entry,” “buying fake certifications,” and “bribery for cadre rotation entry” as negative trends in cadre personnel work. And the term “bribery” is always associated with power abuse and excess.

Infractions in cadre planning, training, nurturing, and rotation are manifested when those who do not meet the criteria and regulations for a position are still considered and hired without the necessary collective approvals from committees, standing committees, etc.

Fourthly, cadre assessment:

According to the Party’s regulations, the cadre assessment shall be public and democratic, based on the degree of task achievement, the cadre prestige, etc. The cadre assessment work is the responsibility and authority of the committees and the heads of committees, agencies, and units.

However, there are some places where the cadre assessment work is performed arbitrarily, subjectively, and unjustly without openness and transparency. The main cause of the aforementioned phenomena is that some cadres abuse their power to skew the cadre assessment work, which manifests primarily as follows: Assessing cadres based on neither task achievement results nor collective or public opinions; Cadre assessment is conducted at the wrong time and place, without openness and transparency; Cadre assessment is undertaken subjectively, not in accordance with the proper process and the right authority, and its results are not drawn from the conclusions of the competent committees and the heads of the competent agencies or units.

Fifthly, cadre commendation and discipline, as well as the implementation of cadre entitlements and policies

Commendation and implementation of entitlements and policies for cadres is the form of the Party, State, agencies, and organizations honoring and recognizing the achievements, contributions, and dedication of cadres, replicating bright and typical role models. The purpose of the cadre commendation and implementation of cadre entitlements and policies is to motivate, attract, and encourage all individuals and collectives to promote patriotic traditions, a dynamic and creative spirit, and the spirit to strive for assigned task accomplishments in order to achieve common objectives and missions.

Discipline is a form of strictly maintaining the regulations of the Party, the law of the State, the rules of agencies and units, ensuring the activities of individuals, groups, and collectives are in order, adhere to the State regulations and laws, and eventually are highly successful.

Cadre commendation and discipline, as well as the implementation of cadre entitlements and policies, are related to the political life, rights, position, and role of each cadre in the collective and society, all aiming to serve the common good of the country, of each agency, and of each unit. Therefore, the principles of cadre commendation, discipline, and implementation of cadre entitlements and policies are to ensure accuracy, objectivity, fairness, justness, openness, timeliness, and execution at the right timing and right place for the right person with the right accomplishment.

However, some office-power holders, for their personal motives and purposes, have intervened and exploited the work of cadre commendation and the implementation of cadre entitlements to profit themselves. Those are violations in cadre personnel work that have the following main manifestations: arbitrary behaviors, personal bias, injustice, subjectivity, unfairness, lacking openness, not following the right process; decision-making that doesn’t rely on the opinions of the public, leadership collectives; commendation that is not based on achievements, dedication, and task completion; considering cadre commendation and policies as tools for personal gains, granting favors to others, currying favors from others, garnering votes in elections, creating fake prestige, etc.

In addition, in the work of cadre commendation and discipline, there are also violations of colluding with one another to mutually conceal infractions, excluding one’s competitors, undermining the prestige of one’s competitors, or undemocratically considering the discipline forms without following the proper process, based on their motives to oppress and vent personal animosity toward others for envy satisfaction rather than the opinions of the collectives and general public. Thus, those who deserve to be disciplined can be shielded from public criticism and given unfair support by their superiors, and those who deserve to be severely disciplined can get a light punishment to placate the public. It is also defined as the phenomenon of “lighter punishments for superiors, heavier punishments for subordinates” emerging in the disciplinary process, making the Party’s discipline and the State’s laws turn lax.

Above are some main manifestations of violations in the exercise of power in some major stages of cadre personnel work. Violations in cadre personnel work, if not prevented in time, will cause significant damage to the prestige, reputation, leadership, and combat power of the Party as well as the effectiveness and power of the State, arousing social rage, diminishing trust and close relationships between the people, the Party, the State, and the regime, and lowering the prestige and performance of each party organization, agency, and unit.


Received: 30th August 2022; Revised: 30th September 2022; Approved for publication: 26th October 2022.



(1) TCPV: Documents of the 12th National Party Congress at the 7th session, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2018, p.51-52.

(2) TCPV: The Complete Set of Party Documents, vol. 49, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006, p.281.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. LE KIM VIET

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