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Wednesday, 27 December 2023 10:35
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The Vietnamese State has full power and fully exercises the power entrusted by the people

Dr. TRAN THAI HA
Faculty of State and Law,
Academy of Journalism and Communication

(PTOJ) - The State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has full power in organization and operation, effectively fulfilling the role of state management under the authorization of the people. The Party's leadership over the State does not decrease the State power at all. On the contrary, it ensures that the State is increasingly clean, strong, effective, and efficient, truly a socialist law-ruled State of the people, by the people and for the people. This article analyzes the legal and practical bases proving the real rights of the State of Vietnam.
 

In documents distributed illegally both physically and on social networks, especially on the occasion of the election of National Assembly deputies and the People’s Councils deputies at all levels, and when the National Assembly is convened, some reactionary objects and those of discontent, negativity, and political opportunisms spread the allegation that, the Communist Party of Vietnam decides, imposes everything in Vietnam and the State exists only as a formality, merely following the direction of the Party, without a real role and without power. So, is the current State of Vietnam really an agency with real power, exercising the state power entrusted and authorized by the people? Does the Party’s leadership mitigate the roles and power of state agencies?

1. The State has full power in organization and operation in accordance with the Constitution and the law, with the absolute support of the people.

The Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam affirms: The State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a socialist law-ruled State of the people, by the people, for the people; all state power belongs to the people whose foundation is the alliance between the working class, the peasantry and the intelligentsia; the people are subjects of state power; the people exercise state power by direct democracy, by representative democracy through the National Assembly, the People’s Councils and other State agencies, etc. That nature and characteristics are clearly reflected in the entire organization and operation of the State.

On the establishment and consolidation of state agencies

The establishment and consolidation of state agencies are clearly stipulated in the Constitution, the Law on Organization of the National Assembly, the Law on Government Organization, the Law on Organization of the People’s Courts, the Law on Organization of People’s Procuracy, the Law on Organization of State Audit, the Law on Organization of Local Governments, etc. The implementation process is strictly and thoroughly followed by the competent authorities according to the process and procedures. The Party only sets out guidelines and orientations for building lean state agencies, performing effective and efficient operation, ensuring that state agencies properly and fully perform their functions and tasks as prescribed by law; assigning, coordinating, and controlling one another in the exercise of legislative, executive and judicial powers, etc., without directly interfering or deciding on the organizational work of state agencies.

The election of deputies to the National Assembly and the People’s Councils at all levels shall be conducted on the principles of universal, equal, direct and secret ballot. In fact, the elections of deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils are conducted in accordance with the Law on Election of National Assembly deputies and People’s Councils deputies, under the organization, direction and guidance by the National Election Council established by the National Assembly. Citizens who fully meet the criteria and conditions prescribed by law shall exercise the right to stand for election; personnel presented for voters to elect are selected through a multi-round system under the joint auspices of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee among party organizations, socio-political organizations, socio-professional organizations, and social organizations through many rounds of elections; the proposed candidates must be approved by the majority of voters in their place of residence; National Assembly and People’s Council deputies for all terms are elected directly by voters in form of secret ballot. Party members who stand for election to the National Assembly and People’s Councils must gain the consent of the majority of voters in their place of place residence, and be considered and endorsed by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee at the same level.

The election campaign is conducted democratically, openly, equally, and in accordance with the law; electoral organizations and their members shall not conduct campaigns for candidates. During the election campaign, activities performed to take advantage of the campaign to propagate subjects contrary to the Constitution and the law or to damage the honour, dignity, prestige, rights, legitimate interests of other organizations and individuals; abusing positions and powers to use mass media in election campaigning; using or promising to give, grant or support money, property or material benefits to entice or bribe voters is strictly prohibited.

On the election, approval, dismissal, and discharge of key positions of state agencies at all levels

Along with deciding on the establishment and consolidation of agencies of the National Assembly, National Assembly deputies exercise and promote their statutory rights to elect, approve, dismiss, and remove from office officials according to the provisions of the Constitution; the People’s Council deputies exercise and promote their rights as stipulated by law to decide the establishment of the People’s Councils and elect, dismiss, and remove from office the Chairperson and members of the People’s Committee. Party committees at each level only introduce cadres who are qualified, capable, and reputable to be elected by National Assembly deputies and People’s Council deputies according to the provisions of law, without any impositions.

Before casting their votes to elect or approve officials, the National Assembly deputies and People’s Councils deputies carefully consider and discuss the required conditions for each member. They vote on them by secret ballot and the decision is made by the majority. Those holding positions elected or approved by the National Assembly or People’s Councils are subject to a vote of confidence and may be dismissed by the National Assembly or People’s Councils if they violate their status as deputies and no longer deserve the people’s trust. Cadres who are transferred or assigned to leadership and management positions at the local level are only entrusted with party duties, and then the party committees recommend them to the People’s Councils to be elected to leadership positions in government agencies according to the provisions of the law.

Party members who are elected or approved by the National Assembly and the People’s Councils to hold leadership positions in state agencies are subject to strict party management, not only being responsible to the law and state agencies, but also to the Party, and are bound firmly by party discipline. Those who violate the law are subject to party disciplinary actions and legal sanctions without any exceptions or safe havens. For example, in recent times, some Party members who are also leaders in state agencies have been disciplined severely by the Party, dismissed by the National Assembly or the People’s Councils, and subjected to legal sanctions, including criminal charges. Party committees take the initiative in disciplining party officials and members, and recommend state agencies with the authority to impose administrative sanctions or prosecution according to the severity of the violation.

On constitutional and legislative activities: the National Assembly has full authority to decide on the Constitution and its amendments. Most draft codes and laws are submitted by the Government, comments thereon are given by the National Assembly Standing Committee, appraised by the Council of Ethnic Minorities and the various committees of the National Assembly, discussed by the National Assembly deputies over a number of sessions and then voted for approval before finally being signed into law by the State President. For major issues related to all classes of people, the Central Executive Committee and the Politburo provide guidance, while the National Assembly makes final decisions. In practice, there have been cases where a draft law was found to be insufficiently grounded, and the National Assembly decided to suspend its discussion and approval, as with the draft Law on Special Administrative and Economic Units.

In deciding on important national and local issues, during sessions of the National Assembly and the People’s Councils, the topics within their authority and responsibilities are discussed and decided upon by National Assembly deputies and People’s Council deputies. The guidelines stated in the Party’s resolutions on major domestic and foreign issues are the basis for the National Assembly and the People’s Councils to study, apply and decide according to their authority. In fact, specific policies on economic and social issues proposed by the Politburo have sparked lively discussions and varied opinions among National Assembly deputies, and the Politburo has since incorporated the majority view into further study, guidance, and perfection before submitting to the National Assembly.

In localities, resolutions of the committees and standing committees of the Party committees also only provide guidelines and directions, while the targets, programs, plans, measures, and the conditions for their implementation are considered and decided upon by the People’s Councils.

In regard to monitoring responsibilities, the National Assembly fully exercises the supreme right to supervise the activities of state agencies during the National Assembly sessions, including reviewing Government reports; questioning Government deputies at the National Assembly session and the National Assembly Standing Committee sessions; by monitoring missions of the National Assembly in branches and localities; etc. People’s Councils at all levels also exercise the right to supervise the People’s Committees of the local level. Government members who are members of the Party Central Committee must seriously report and answer questions before the National Assembly and the National Assembly Standing Committee in accordance with the laws and regulations. Similarly, members of the People’s Committees and heads of specialized agencies under the People’s Committees who are party members must strictly report and answer questions before the People’s Councils at the local level.

Regarding executive activities, the organization of implementation of the Constitution and laws, the implementation of resolutions of the National Assembly, is undertaken by the Government according to its assigned functions, tasks, and powers. The Government develops and promulgates legal documents and work programs, plans, and projects to implement the Constitution and laws and implement decisions of the National Assembly. People’s Committees at all levels develop and decide on programs and work plans according to their authority to enforce laws, implement resolutions of the People’s Councils, and perform tasks assigned by the Government and the People’s Committees at superior levels. Executive agencies are responsible before the law, the National Assembly, the People’s Councils, and superior state agencies for the operational quality, efficiency, and internal quality of their agencies.

Regarding judicial activities, agencies in the judicial field have full powers as prescribed by the Constitution and the law to protect of justice, human rights, citizens’ rights, the socialist regime, the interests of the State, and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals. In adjudicating activities of the people’s courts at all levels, judges and jurors shall conduct independent trials and abide by the law; no agency, organization or individual may interfere in the trial activities of judges or jurors. The prosecution, investigation and trial shall be carried out according to the principles of the right person, the right crime, and the law. There is no discrimination, an no leniency given towards party cadres and party members. Those who break the law are treated equally before the law. Party committees at all levels do not decide on specific issues within the jurisdiction of agencies in the judicial field, especially not on criminal charges and sentences.

In response to the need for anti-corruption measures, the 5th Plenum of the 11th Central Committee (May 2012) established the Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption under the leadership of the Politburo, headed by the General Secretary (Now it is called the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption and Anti-Negative Phenomena). The 5th plenum of the 13th Central Committee (May 2022) decided to establish the Provincial Steering Committee for anti-corruption and anti-negative acts. However, these steering committees only provide guidelines, monitor and urge the implementation of anti-corruption activities. They do not change or directly interfere in the work of law enforcement and protection agencies.

In fact, in all activities of state agencies at all levels, The Party does not issue directives to state agencies, nor does not require state agencies to report on their work to the Party.  The Party issues directives only to Party organizations (Party cells, party committees, and party committees at various levels) and Party officials within state agencies. The Party also only inspects and supervises party organizations and party members in state agencies, and does not directly inspect state agencies.

2. The Party always respects the State and leads it towards increasingly clean, strong, effective, and efficient operations.

Affirming clearly and consistently the point of view that in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the entirety of state power belongs to the people, the Party clearly defines that the State is an agency elected and authorized by the people to perform the function of organizing and managing society under the supervision of the people, being accountable to the people and serving the people.

The report on the draft Constitution in 1980 at the 8th Plenum of the 4th Central Committee affirmed: “The people exercise their mastery through the state, etc., of course, exercising power through the state is paramount”(1). At the same time, the Party affirmed that the Party is not a state agency and has no state power: “The Party is a leading force, not an agency with state power nor a management agency; the Party does not perform state management”(2). The Party leads the State but operates within the framework of the Constitution and laws of the State. Party organizations and party agencies at all levels are not allowed to impose or replace the work which falls under the authority of the State. Moreover, the Party often requests to renovate the Party’s leadership methods to overcome the perception that the Party manages the state, and any interference in the work of state agencies.

The Party’s affirmation and promotion of building a socialist law-ruled state of the people, by the people, for the people has clearly demonstrated the Party’s viewpoint and stance of respecting the State. A rule-of-law state means affirming the Constitution and the law as supreme, upholding the principle of the primacy of the Constitution and the law, and requiring all organizations, including the Party and state agencies, and every citizen to be subject to the law and strictly enforce the law.

The fact that the Communist Party of Vietnam influences and controls the state’s personnel work and the development of policies and laws is normal, similar to ruling parties in all countries worldwide. In countries with multi-party systems, the political party with the majority of its members elected to the National Assembly or parliament becomes the ruling party, at which that party has the right to form a government and appoint party members to key government positions. Typically, the chairperson of the ruling party will be given the office of prime minister, the prime minister appoints ministers without the need for an election, as party members in the National Assembly or parliament would likely be elect the members of their party. In terms of policy, projects put forward by the ruling party’s parliamentary group when voting are also easily approved.

In Vietnam, with the majority of National Assembly deputies being party members, through these deputies, he Party directs the establishment of state agencies at the central level, unifies the leadership of personnel work and management of officials under the management of the Politburo and the Secretariat. It also directs the National Assembly and the Government to institutionalize and concretize the Party’s guidelines and principles into laws, policies, programs, and work plans and organize the implementation of such laws, policies, programs, and work plans. The lower-level committees also lead the organization, staffing and the development of work programs and plans of the same-level government agencies.

All such tasks are carried out in accordance with the order and provisions of the law and under the supervision of the people. Deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils fully exercise their rights and responsibilities in accordance with law and the mandate entrusted to them by their voters. The Party’s leadership in the election of deputies to the National Assembly and the People’s Councils, and the establishment and consolidation of agencies of the National Assembly and the People’s Councils is the fulfillment of the responsibilities prescribed by the Constitution: The Communist Party of Vietnam is the leading force of the State and society. Of course, in this regard, the Party only directs the viewpoints, principles, and policies to ensure that the work is performed in accordance with the law, and to bring into full play the people’s right to mastery. However, the Party does not intervene directly. The election of deputies to the National Assembly and the People’s Councils is entirely decided by the voters. The establishment and consolidation of agencies of the National Assembly and People’s Councils are also decided by National Assembly deputies and People’s Councils deputies on behalf of the people.

Moreover, the Party also leads the Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, through party organizations and party members, and through the Party’s media agencies to encourage voters and people to enthusiastically go to the polls, to fully exercise the rights and obligations of citizens, to participate in the election of deputies to the National Assembly and the People’s Councils at all levels, contributing to building a clean and strong State.

The Party also leads the Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations to coordinate work with state agencies in mobilizing all classes of people to comply with the law, to effectively implement policies and enthusiastically execute programs and plans established by these state agencies. They also participate in state and social management, especially by engaging in their role of supervision and social criticism of state agencies, supervising the activities of cadres, party members, civil servants and public employees working in state agencies, participating in the construction of a State that is truly a State of the people, by the people and for the people, free of bureaucracy, corruption, wastefulness and negativity.

The fact that the Party committees give their opinions and directions on the handling of policies for a number of particularly serious cases related to political security and foreign affairs, to the management of committee officials, or at the request of the people’s court, it is to ensure that the right person, the right crime, and the law are handled correctly, while not causing unnecessary complications to the political situation, foreign affairs, ethnic and religious issues. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies should not be afraid to take legal action against Party management officials or leaders who violated the law.

While continuing to affirm that the Party has the right to lead the State and society, the 2013 Constitution also imposes responsibilities on the Party. Article 4 of the 2013 Constitution affirms that the Party is: The vanguard of the working class, at the same time the vanguard of the working people and of the Vietnamese nation, a faithful representative of the interests of the working class, the working people and the whole nation, taking Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s Thought as the ideological foundation. The Party is closely associated with the people, serves the people, is subject to the people’s supervision, and is accountable to the people for its decisions; Party organizations and members of the Communist Party of Vietnam operate within the framework of the Constitution and laws. It is the Party Central Committee that leads the National Assembly to set binding regulations for the Party; Since it is in the Constitution, it has been enshrined, and the Party has an obligation to strictly comply.

For its part, the Party assumes the role of leading the State to build a State that is truly a socialist law-ruled state of the people, by the people, for the people, becoming cleaning and stronger, operating effectively and efficiently, serving the people, always maintaining the people’s trust. The Party is deeply aware that this is a very heavy task, especially in the condition that our Party is the only ruling Party. If state agencies operate inefficiently, fail to fulfill their assigned functions and tasks, officials and public employees of state agencies violate the law, commit bureaucracy, keep distance from the people, if the people’s pressing issues are not promptly resolved, the Party committees and organizations must take responsibilities for them.

The Party shall constantly improve the intellectual level in order to set out the right guidelines and policies; take care of building a contingent of cadres, especially those at the strategic level, who are qualified, capable and reputable, on par with their duties; carry out well the work of inspection, supervision, and discipline of the Party; strengthen the close relationship between the Party and the people; regularly renovate the Party’s leadership and ruling methods; promote the exemplary role of cadres and party members, especially heads, in state agencies; fully and effectively promote the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations in building and perfecting the State, especially in supervision and social criticism, participate in building the Party, controlling state power and preventing and combating corruption and negativity; etc. 

Along with preventing and overcoming situations of lax leadership of the State, the Party always requires party organizations, cadres, and party members to avoid interfering with outside of their functions and authority in the activities of state agencies. The Party actively educates, requires Party organizations and party members working in state agencies at all levels to respect the State, be the vanguard, to exemplary perform official duties and strictly observe the Constitution and laws, policies, and regulations of the State. The Party seriously accepts responsibility before the people for its limitations and shortcomings, including limitations in the state leadership and the negativity of cadres and party members working in state agencies.

For example, at the 10th National Party Congress, the Party pointed out the shortcomings and limitations in the Party’s leadership activities and affirmed: “The above-mentioned shortcomings, first of all, are the responsibility of the leadership and direction of the Central Committee, particularly Politburo. The Central Committee would like to seriously criticize its own shortcomings before the Congress and the people”(3). At the 11th National Party Congress, “Central Committee respectfully criticizes itself before the Congress and the people for shortcomings and weaknesses that have limited achievements that could have been attained”(4). Speaking at the closing of the 6th National Central Committee Conference, the 11th term on 15 October 2012, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong emphasized: “The Political Bureau and the Secretariat have seriously self-criticized and admitted faults before the Central Committee regarding the shortcomings and limitations in Party building work, as well as the degradation and negativity within the ranks of officials and Party members. The Central Committee respectfully criticizes itself and admits mistakes before the entire Party and people”(5).

For cadres and party members who violate the law and public service ethics, who abuse their positions and powers to do wrong things for personal interests and “interest groups”, the Party requires and directs state agencies to handle such cases strictly, promptly, correctly, in accordance with the law. The Party does not cover up or shield its members. In recent years, the Party has rigorously enforced party discipline, and administrative leaders have implemented disciplinary measures, and legal protection agencies have prosecuted, tried, and imposed strict sentences on both members of the Politburo and Central Committee and deputy prime ministers, ministers, deputy ministers, chairpersons, vice-chairpersons of People’s Councils and People’s Committees at the provincial level, including those who have retired. The Party’s strict attitude has contributed to strengthening the people’s confidence in the Party’s leadership for the whole society in general and the Party’s leadership for the State in particular.

The results of voter turnout in the 15th National Assembly and People’s Council elections, in which many party cadres were elected with high proportions of votes, along with their serious implementation of laws and policies and their energetic, creative participation in patriotic movements, are powerful evidence that calls out the baseless accusations made by hostile forces and evil elements about the relationship between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the state and the people.

_________________

Received: April 7, 2023; Revised: April 15, 2023; Approved for publication: April 20, 2023.

Endnotes:

(1) CPV: Complete Party Documents, vol.41, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2005, p.269.

(2) CPV: Complete Party Documents, vol. 50, 2007, p.503.

(3) CPV: Complete Party Documents, vol.65, 2018, p.176.

(4) CPV: Document of the 11th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.180.

(5) CPV: Documents of the 6th Plenum of the 11th Central Committee, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2012, p.184-185.

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