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Tuesday, 02 February 2016 10:07
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Solution to ensure the standing and role of the ruling party

(LLCT) - With 85 years of age, and 70 continuous years in power, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has made great contributions to the country and nation. Under its leadership, the people won national independence, built up the first state of workers and peasants in Southeast Asia, and the first democratic republic regime in Vietnam.

Then, the people consecutively defeated the great empires, firmly protecting the national independence, territorial integrity and national frontiers. Under the leadership of the Party, the country’s renovation cause over the past 30 years has gained great achievements of historic significance. From an impoverished, backward and war-ravaged country, Vietnam has entered the list of medium-income countries and its standing in the international arena has become increasingly higher.

The Constitutions of 1980, 1992 and 2013 of Vietnam have asserted that the CPV is the leading force of the society and the State. It is a proper acknowledgement for CPV and its merits and irreplaceable role in national history. Compared with all the countries in the world, the CPV is currently the only party having the highest standing that a political party could have: It is the only party in Vietnamese society, is the only in- power and leading party recognized by the Constitution.

Vietnam is proud of the heroic history of the Party (which was called by the President Ho Chi Minh as a “golden history”), but at the same time, Vietnam also has to answer the question currently posed to CPV’s leadership: What must be done, so that the standing of CPV and its role as the single ruling party of society and the country could be continuously maintained and acknowledged by society?

Realities of the world history in general, and of the communist movement in particular, show that a party like the Communist Party of the Soviet Union could still lose its leadership and could collapse, despite its great merits in leading the Soviet Union to develop the union and defeat fascism. Moreover, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had been established earlier than the Party by 3 decades and it was in power for 73 continuous years, so it had a longer historical life span. This fact is the lesson that the Communists should not forget.

Looking straight at the truth, it must be admitted that now there are some cases revealing that the Party’s leading role is not good in certain periods and issues, undermining the confidence of the people in the Party itself. These cases are the reasons for making the leading position of the Party weaker. Some cases may be listed as follows:

1. There are sections still lacking the leadership of the Party. This concerns enterprises, especially non-state enterprises. According to statistics of the Central Organizing Committee, in 2013, in Ho Chi Minh City, 0.8% of non-state enterprises had party organizations, each having 16 party members on average. In Hanoi, 3.9% of non-state enterprises had party organizations, equivalent to the disparity of 1:25, each having 20 party members on average. Even in many large state enterprises, the role of party organizations is also weak, leading to the situation where the enterprises can make losses, suffer from waste, and violate the law (Vinashin is a typical case). Meanwhile Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are the two major economic centers of the country.

This fact puts forth the question of why now it is hard to develop party organizations in enterprises and the party organizations does not exert necessary affect on the enterprise when the country needs to develop a socialist - oriented market economy?

2. The state apparatus is cubersome, with low effectiveness and efficiency. There is still much corruption. There are signs that many leaders at the central and local levels of the state apparatus violated laws and quality of the Party membership (for example, the case of the former head of the State inspection agency recently uncovered by the press). But the party organizations did not timely discover and deal with these cases. This fact poses the question: Why the combativeness of the party organizations in many localities could not be promoted?

For a ruling party, the most dangerous thing to cause it to lose the leadership over the State and country is that it allows the state apparatus to be cubersome, and the expenditure on this to be too great, but it is less effective and efficient while the officials are corrupt. The political turmoil and overthrowing of several governments in Southeast Asian countries in the recent years took place under the banner of fighting against corruption and must serve as lessons that Vietnam cannot neglect. As for a Communist Party, such thing is even more dangerous, because the Party will lose the advancing and exemplary image and symbol of a clean, and virtuous Communist Party.

3. The ​economic growth rate of the country in recent years has tended to slow. The developments are unsustainable and are incomensurate with the national potential. There is the risk for Vietnam to be lagging behind other countries in the world and the region. Apart from the objective reasons (such as the slowdown of the world economy), there are the principal subjective reasons concerning the leadership and the ruling. This may lead to the question: What are the Party’s vision and capability to formulate policies, laws, and development strategies, and to implement them?

The lessons of the world show that another issue not less dangerous than corruption will arise if the ruling party does not have appropriate policies, which may cause the country’s economy to fall into difficulties or even into recession. It would make the party lose prestige, regarding its organizational capacity, and thereby lose its leadership. These cases have happened in many surrounding countries and should serve as valuable experience for many ruling parties and state leaders.

Proceeding from the experiences of many ruling parties in different social and political regimes of the world; given the successes and shortcomings at some times in the 85 years of the Party’s leadership over the people to pass through revolutionary stages; and looking at the weaknesses in the current leadership of the Party, we may assert that only by sucessfully overcoming these weaknesses, can the Party play the role of leader and be worthy of the highest standing entrusted by the country and the society.

In many resolutions, from those of the Party National Congresses to those of the plenums of the Party Central Committee, the Party has pointed out the directions and measures to build it really clean and strong and to enhance its leadership capacity and combativeness. The 11th National Congress of the Party put forth 8 directions - solutions as follows: strenthening the Party in the political aspect; enhancing effectiveness of the ideological and theoretical work; cultivating the revolutionary virtue, fighting individualism; continuing to renovate and consolidate the Party apparatus and the political system; perfecting grassroots party organizations and improving the quality of party members; renovating the cadre work, attaching importance to the protection of the internal political systems; renovating and enhancing effectiveness of inspection and supervision works; renovating the mode of the Party’s leadership.

Further, the Resolution of the 4th plenum of the Party Central Committee of the 11th tenure put forth urgent tasks as follows: struggling to check and reverse the political, ideological, moral degradation and degradation of lifestyle of a number of cadres and party members; building a contingent of leaders and managers at all levels, especially at the strategical level of the Party; implementing well the principle of democratic centralism and the relationship between the heads and the committee collectives. To fulfill the first task, the whole Party has carried out rounds of criticism and self-criticism and obtained some positive results.

That are the right directions and solutions.

Seen from the perspective of a ruling party, it is possible to additionally emphasize that the Party must thoroughly grasp the three crucial aspects in accordance with the right functions and duties of a ruling party, which are as follows:

- Monitoring and controlling the leader positions of the political system and the State introduced and arranged by the Party, especially the highest positions of the government apparatus at all levels (at state level, these positions are the President, the Chairman of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister and Ministers; at local level, they are the Chairman of the People’s council, Chairman of the People’s committee), because these positions directly impact on the policies, and laws, and their implementation.        

- Succesfully and comprehensively supervising the process of drafting policies, laws and strategic lines of the State; Supervising the distribution of the resources of the country, including financial spending of the State.

Advocating and mobilizing social strata to support the guidelines and policies of the Party and party members who are holding positions in the state apparatus and the political system in general.    

To successfully implement these functions and duties, the first important thing for a ruling party is to design reasonable institutions and apparatuses of the Party itself and State. In the conditions of a single party in power, there must guarantee that the Party will lead the State, but in accordance with the principles of a law-ruled state. State agencies and holders of positions in the state apparatus must implement their power in an effective and efficient way and are accountable before the law for the implementation of the tasks. And at the same time, they may control each other, not allowing to abuse power, take excessive actions, taking advantage of the power and the positions for individual purposes. The Party provides leadership and holds power, but in the framework of the Constitution and laws. All organizations and party members should live and work in accordance with the law. Guidelines and policies of the Party must be turned into laws and should be organised for implementation mainly by the State. The implementation of the principle of the law-ruled state is to prevent corruption and lack of democracy.

In order to contribute to strengthening the Party’s leadership over the State within the framework of the Constitution of 2013, the head of the Party should hold the position of State President. This ensures that the leader of the Party will have the highest position in the State, representing the country in the international arena and he will have the proper power in the relation to the National Assembly and Government.

Apart from the competence of the Central Committee for the positions of the Prime Minister and ministers, the supervision and control role of the National Assembly (i.e. also of the Party) with regard to the Government, the Prime Minister and ministers must be strengthened through the ordinary or extraordinary votes of confidence. The Chairman of the National Assembly, and the chairmans of its committees must be members of the top leadership of the Party (the Politburo, or the Secretariat). Votes of confidence for the positions elected or approved by the National Assembly- as it was implemented recently- are an appropriate and necessary measure.

On the contrary, it is also necessary to increase the authority of the Prime Minister and ministers, so that they can have sufficient competence in proactive and creative leadership and management, avoiding the pratice of waiting and relying on the collective. It is not necessary for ministers to be members of the Party Central Committee or National Assembly deputes.

In localities, the Secretary of the provincial or city Party Committee should be the Chairman of the People’s Council so that he can have sufficient power, and properly perform the function to lead the people’s representative body in supervising and controling the head of the executive body of the locality. The heads of the committees of the People’s Council must be members of the highest leadership of the Party Committee.

By introducing senior personnel of the Party into the highest positions of the people’s representative body, the Party will be able to supervise and control the staff, and the allocation of resources and finance of the country. Party committees must set forth general guidelines and also exactly grasp the programs, or projects and the allocation of resources and finance for them in locality. Currently, financial control now is a weak point of the Party. If this matter is done well, the power of the Party in holding and in leading the state apparatus will increase.

Effective prevention of corruption is as important as protection of the prestige of a ruling party. Any ruling party that allows the development of corruption will lose prestige, leading to loss of its leadership. So, the second essential task at the present is that the Party should push up the prevention and fight against corruption. This is a regular and long-term task, but in the current period, breakthroughs and significant changes must be made. It is possible to consider anti-corruption as a “dictatorship task” in the context of developing the market economy. Simultaneously with the issuance and strict implementation of necessary legal provisions (such as inventory and publicizing of assets of cadres), the competence of the Department of Internal Affairs as well as the inspection committees of the Party at all levels must be increased in revealing and disciplining cases of corruption among Party ranks. Inspection Committees must be elected by Party congresses and authorized to decide on the higher levels of discipline.

The revolution is the cause of the people. But, can the pople understand the revolutionary cause and voluntarily implement the policies and laws of the Party and the State? Can the people believe in the Party and party members in general, and those party members who hold positions in the state apparatus? The answers to these questions depend on the matter of communication and public advocacy. And this matter should be considered similar to the performance of “public relation activities”, and is the third most important task at present. The Party’s resolutions on strengthening party leadership over public relations in the new situation, strengthening official information, and dialogues, feedback and the struggle against the distorting and slandering allegations on the internet about all activities of the leaders of the Party and the State is a necessary and proper cause that should be supported.

The Party’s public relations need to be strengthened further and directed to wider social strata, religious people and ethnic minorities, overseas Vietnamese, friends and foreign partners of Vietnam. The role of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, socio-political organisations, and people’s friendship societies should be promoted further.

Ultimately, humans are the decisive factor. For a long term, the answer to the question of how high the Party’s intellectual level, political mettle, capability of leadership and culture are depends on whether the Party performs well the task of detecting, selecting, training, retraining and cultivating a contingent of the party members, who shoulde be qualified for important positions of the political system and the State. Therefore, the fourth important thing now is that the Party should do well the cadres work, which is “the radical work” of the Party, as President Ho Chi Minh taught. This is a regular, continuous and long-term task to ensure that future generations of party members will sucessively lead the country. To contribute to the cadre work of the Party, Party schools and cadre-training schools must frequently and urgently carry out renovation, improve the training programs and methods and raise the staff’s qualifications to a new higher and more mordern level. In turn, the staff of the system of Party schools also need to be regularly and continuously trained, renovated and enhanced, and grow up not only in the framework of the schools, but also in the practice of immediate leadership and management at all levels.


Assoc. Prof., Dr. Vu Hoang Cong

Political Theory Journal

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics    


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