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15th National Assembly with the responsibility of building and perfecting the national development institution

(PTOJ) - The Party and State of Vietnam have defined one of the three strategic breakthroughs as renovating, building, and perfecting institutions. The National Assembly of Vietnam promotes institutional reform as the people's representative agency and the highest state authority, contributing to the building and completion of the institution of sustainable development in a timely manner, meeting the requirements of innovation and international integration.

15th National Assembly of Vietnam - Source: vnanet.vn

1. The role of the National Assembly of Vietnam in institutional reform 

The National Assembly is the highest representative body of the people in our state apparatus, as well as the highest organ of state power in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and it plays an essential role in institutional transformation. The 13th Party Congress outlined the objective and vision for turning the country into a high-income developed country by 2045, as well as a development strategy focused on innovation and creativity. Among the three strategic breakthroughs, the Congress’ Resolution reaffirmed the importance and function of strategic institutional breakthroughs: “Continuing to strongly renew thinking, build and perfect development institutions synchronously, sustainable development in economy, politics, culture, society, environment..., promptly remove difficulties and obstacles; awakening all potentials and resources, creating new impetus for the country’s rapid and sustainable development”(1)

Building a development institution that is both objective and inclusive is a critical and urgent issue that represents the country’s development needs and follows the current development trend. The development institution is the result of the simultaneous functioning of three factors: the actors involved, the operational norms and enforcement mechanism, and the environment in which they interact. 

The development institution for each country is an integrated interaction of three key fields: politics, economy, and society; it is the cohesion and harmonious impact of three primary component institutions: political, economic, and social institutions. These three component institutions have distinct duties and tasks, but they are tightly linked, interact, and regulate one another, generating distinct development institutional models that operate in the core connection between state, market, and society. Thus, the institutional breakthrough with the completion of the modern socialist-oriented market economy institution and integration must be associated with the improvement of the transparent and professional state apparatus organization based on the talents of officials, civil servants and appropriate laws, associated with democracy and innovation.

The National Assembly of Vietnam has steadily built an important and robust legal foundation for the restoration effort over the past 75 years and 14 terms, with the concentration on constructing a socialist rule of law state of the people, by the people, for the people. Vietnam’s practice of establishing and improving a socialist rule of law is linked to the country’s constitutional history, which includes the ratification of five different constitutions. The promulgation of the 1992 Constitution - the Constitution of the early renewal period - has determined the constitutional framework and legal foundation for reforming the law-ruled state apparatus and reforming institutions, which was built and completed by the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12nd National Assembly. The 2013 Constitution approved by the 13th National Assembly affirms the value of institutional reform, which is the basis for continuing to renew and perfect the legal system, promoting the achievements of the period of comprehensive promotion of the renovation. 

Building proper institutions is one of the prerequisites for economic development, according to resolutions of the 11th, 12nd, and 13thParty Congresses. In development policy, institutional quality is not merely a goal, but a game-changer. To promote development, it is necessary to begin by establishing appropriate institutional concepts, with the goal of improving national governance by emphasizing citizen participation, accountability, and compliance with the law, as well as increasing the effectiveness of policy formulation and implementation. 

Institutional change is a never-ending cycle of inherited knowledge and nonstop invention, production, and development to meet the demands of new tasks. The previous National Assembly’s practical experience is always a great lesson for consolidating and improving the quality of the following National Assembly’s activities. In particular, in light of the country’s growing democratic trend, the National Assembly should continue to enhance its position as a key democratic forum. 

In general, each session of the National Assembly leaves its unique fingerprints and meets the major tasks entrusted by the people, correctly exercise the constitutional, legislative, and supervisory powers, according to the General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, supreme authority and makes decisions on the country’s most vital concerns. The National Assembly, as the highest representative body of the people and the highest state power agency of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, should build on the achievements and experiences of the previous 75 years, continue to innovate, and improve quality and operational efficiency in order to meet the country’s needs and political tasks in the new period(2).

Over the past 35 years, the practice of reforming the country has demonstrated the critical role and importance of institutions in development, as well as the continuous improvement of development institutions, particularly political institutions - a necessary condition for the construction and defense of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. That process confirms the correctness of the Party’s and the State’s vision and strategic thinking in determining the basic goals, guidelines, orientations, and solutions in institutional reform, thereby creating a legal basis and an important driving force for the country’s development. The construction and completion of the socialist rule of law state has yielded significant results, ushering in a new era in the cause of state building of the people, by the people, and for the people. Main aspects of the state apparatus: Regularization, this can be considered an important content of the development of the rule of law. In addition to the legal system, there are many relationships that have been regulated in documents, especially those between the Party and the State; Specialization is the process of decentralization and decentralization for localities and organizations; Objectivity, the nature of a public state in general, the law as well as each policy in particular, always requires its application to all subjects in an objective and fair manner. 

The Party has officially added an important content, “control of state power,” since the 11th National Party Congress. Although it is still in its infancy, control is the most important and difficult stage in this objectification process. It is impossible to speak of objectivity and fairness without power. “Strengthening publicity, transparency, accountability, and power control in conjunction with tightening discipline and discipline in the activities of the State and cadres, civil servants, and employees. office,” the 13thParty Congress emphasized(3). These are not only orientations, but also reasonable solutions and new requirements that will help to build, consolidate, and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the socialist rule of law state’s social management. 

Implementing the Party’s guidelines, the National Assembly, the Government, and competent agencies in the political system have worked hard to build and perfect the institution. The establishment and improvement of the Socialist law-ruled State of Vietnam has established an important legal foundation and driving force for economic and social development, lifting the country out of poverty and underdevelopment and transforming it into a developing country. 

Looking back on more than 35 years of reform, the accomplishments in this work are remarkable: (1) The 2013 Constitution was promulgated with many new breakthroughs, establishing a constitutional foundation, steadfastly committed to the country’s rapid industrialization and modernization. (2) The legal system is relatively complete, becoming more synchronous and balanced across all aspects of the country’s socioeconomic life. From constructing and perfecting the organization and operation of state apparatus institutions for civil servants, to socialist-oriented market economic institutions, to constructing and perfecting the law on education, science and technology, culture, defense, and security. (3) Promulgating new important laws such as: Civil Code, Penal Code, procedural codes, laws on organization of state apparatus, investment, business, guarantee of children’s rights, freedom and democracy of citizens. The National Assembly promptly amended and supplemented a number of laws on the organization of the state apparatus to both institutionalize the new content of the 2013 Constitution and institutionalize Resolution No. October 2017, of the 6thPlenum of the 12thCentral Committee, on “A number of issues on continuing to innovate, reorganizing the organizational apparatus of the political system to be streamlined, effective and efficient” and Resolution No.56/2017/QH14, dated November 24, 2017, of the National Assembly, “On continuing to reform the organization of the state administrative apparatus to be lean, effective and efficient”. (4) The National Assembly has also ratified international treaties such as the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Vietnam-EU Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). (5) The legislative process has been innovated, promoting participant responsibility and increasing publicity and transparency. From term-by-term legislative program formulation to annual legislative program formulation; publicity from bringing legislative initiatives to drafting, appraising, verifying, reviewing, debating, and approving legislation. 

However, Vietnam legal system is still not fully synchronized; stability and forecasting are low, and some regulations lack consistency and feasibility. Democratization in legislative activities is heavily promoted, but formal manifestations remain. Controlling the consistency of the legal document system in legislative activities has received insufficient attention. In addition to the assigned agency’s verification and responsibility for ensuring the constitutionality and consistency of the law project, the Law Committee, during the process of discussing, considering, and approving the law, the National Assembly’s agencies, and National Assembly deputies. The National Assembly has not paid enough attention to detecting overlapping conflicts in order to propose amendments and supplements during the bill’s consideration and approval...

In the new context, the country is confronted with both opportunities and challenges. Legislative activities must be renewed, built, and perfected; we must continue to reform institutions, particularly those based on the rule of law and a socialist-oriented market economy, in order to provide a new driving force and impetus for the country’s rapid and sustainable development. Being well aware of the roles and responsibilities of the people’s highest representative body, the highest state power agency, the National Assembly of Vietnam, and other agencies and organizations in the political system focus on accelerating institutional reform, deepening reforms, and being effective in meeting the demands of innovation and integration in the new development period.

2. The 15thNational Assembly of Vietnam and the responsibility of reforming the institution, expressing the aspiration to build a strong country

The National Assembly’s activities are facing the requirement of “Continuing to strongly renew thinking, building and synchronously perfecting the institution for sustainable development of the country”(4). Institutional breakthroughs are understood from many angles, including reform, breakthroughs in organizational structure, national governance, breakthroughs in legislative work, supreme supervision and decision-making on important issues of the country. The institutional breakthrough of the 15th National Assembly opens a new phase full of good prospects for Vietnam.

For the first time in the National Assembly’s history, the proportion of elected full-time National Assembly deputies exceeded 40% of the total number of deputies. Increasing the proportion of full-time deputies and decreasing the proportion of part-time deputies in the executive and judicial branches will assist the National Assembly in improving its professionalism in carrying out its functions, tasks, and activities with greater heights. The combined structures met or exceeded the expectations in terms of the proportion of young delegates, ethnic minority delegates, and re-elected delegates. Notably, for the first time in the last nine National Assembly terms, the percentage of female National Assembly deputies exceeds 30%. The professional qualifications of the 15th National Assembly’s deputies are also higher than in previous terms. The National Election Council and the Deputies Working Committee (National Assembly Standing Committee) have improved during the election period, requiring candidates to propose an Action Plan as a basis for monitoring the candidates’ commitments when they become a member of the National Assembly or the People’s Council. Voters and citizens expect elected delegates to carry out action plans and make election promises a reality; is the true representative of the people; and all activities are truly directed toward the legitimate interests of the people. 

The 15th National Assembly emphasized a sense of responsibility as well as a desire for dedication, innovation, and creativity. The National Assembly immediately contributed many enthusiastic, profound, and relevant ideas for consideration, approval, and promulgation of resolutions on organization and personnel, thematic resolutions, general resolutions on meeting, both promptly solving urgent problems in the immediate future, and deciding on important strategic and long-term issues, contributing to a successful meeting in many aspects, which is appreciated by the people and organizations. 

In particular, in the first session’s General Resolution, there were regulations on drastic and urgent solutions to serve the prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic and perform the tasks of socio-economic development and the state budget. The National Assembly has decided on a five-year plan system for 2021-2025: Socioeconomic development plan; National financial plan, borrowing and repaying public debt; Medium-term public investment plan; decisions on investment policy in the National Target Program on New Rural Development and the National Target Program on Sustainable Poverty Reduction for the period 2021-2025. The review and overall decision on the 5-year medium-term plans and programs right in the first session of the term is a great effort of the National Assembly, the Government, and relevant agencies; it has an important meaning for the country’s development, creating conditions for the Government, agencies, branches, and levels to soon proactively implement the National Assembly’s resolutions and the Resolution of the 13thParty Congress.

In the context of the market economy and international integration, the State faces two major challenges in building and perfecting the country’s development institutions: (1) The State’s economic requirements are vastly different. Economic concentration places a premium on the rule of law, requiring, first and foremost, a stable, fair, and dependable legal framework. This framework is essentially a requirement of the person in power’s self-limitation and self-consistency. (2) In a market economy, the state is more than just a management state; it is also a state that directs, promotes development, and serves the public. Furthermore, power must be used to further the socialist value system. In other words, the socialist rule of law is improved by completing legal procedures and standards in two main directions: improving the power control mechanism and the people’s political participation mechanism. The National Assembly of Vietnam must constantly innovate in terms of organization and operation in order to fulfill the task of perfecting the institution, contributing to the country’s development reaching new heights, and successfully realizing the prosperous: rich people, powerful, democratic, fair, and civilized country.

3. Some solutions to strengthen the role of the National Assembly in building and perfecting institutions

Being well aware of the roles and responsibilities of the people’s highest representative body, the highest state power agency, it is expected that the National Assembly of Vietnam will focus efforts on creating institutional breakthroughs and developing the country in a new era. 

Firstly, the National Assembly’s legislative activities must be renovated, built, and perfected. That is, “promote the improvement and construction of a unified, synchronous, modern, feasible, open, and transparent legal system which is transparent, stable, easily accessible, internationally competitive to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the people...”(5). Creating legal standards and regulations on political procedures and processes with the goal of educating and promoting socialist values, bringing about awareness change, and achieving political consensus. This includes the mechanisms for assigning, coordinating, and controlling resources. 

Breakthroughs in legislative work necessitate the elimination of flaws and the forecasting of problems that may arise in practice. Improve professionalism, significantly innovate the legislative process, and perfect a synchronous, high-quality, and constitutional legal system. Prioritize the creation of new and supplementing laws in key areas of critical importance, with high feasibility, in order to achieve a breakthrough in socioeconomic development; laws must have a long life in order to serve the country’s development. Focus on developing and improving socialist-oriented market economic institutions in order to significantly shift the economy to a growth model based on productivity growth and scientific and technological progress. This should be regarded as the primary direction for improving the quality of legislation. 

Secondly, the effectiveness and efficiency of the Supreme National Assembly’s supervisory activities must be renewed and improved. This is considered a key and critical stage to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the National Assembly’s activities. We should focus on continuing to innovate methods and organizing questioning and answering at the National Assembly Standing Committee, accountability activities at the Ethnic Council and Committees of the National Assembly; monitoring activities of National Assembly deputies and National Assembly delegations, increasing debate, promoting democracy, focusing on supervising law enforcement and supervising the implementation of post-supervision recommendations, associated with accountability of relevant organizations and individuals, especially the responsibility of the head. It is also necessary to strengthen supervision of the handling of petitions, letters, complaints, denunciations of citizens and petitions of voters. 

We should continue to improve and organize well the vote of confidence, and study to continue to improve the mechanism of supervision and vote of confidence for those elected or approved by the National Assembly or the People’s Council, in the spirit of the 13th Party Congress Resolution, and then increase the importance of specialized delegates. Full-time National Assembly deputies play an important role in the creation of laws, supreme supervision, and decision-making on critical national issues.

Thirdly, the law on organization of the state apparatus and political system, in line with the requirements of building a socialist rule of law must be built and perfected. It is essential to stipulate more clearly the decentralization, assignment, coordination, in association with strengthening inspection and supervision among state agencies, overcoming the overlapping of functions, tasks and powers, and at the same time, clearly define collective responsibilities and individual responsibilities, ensure unified, smooth and effective state management; promote the proactive, creative and responsible roles of each level, branch, unit and leader. 

The state apparatus is streamlined, effective, and efficient in order to carry out the powers granted by the people in accordance with the constitutional principle of state power being unified with assignment, coordination, and control which is exercised by agencies with legislative, executive, and judicial powers. To ensure that all power exercise activities of the people are strictly controlled, it is necessary to focus on more clearly defining the division of power, renewing the coordination mechanism, and building an appropriate power control mechanism. 

The legislation to protect citizens’ human rights, freedom, and democracy must be created and perfected. We must strengthen the legislative capacity to ensure human rights and citizens’ rights entails, the first is to improve the capacity to institutionalize the relationship between the responsibilities of the State in general, as well as competent agencies and individuals in particular, with individual citizens in the direction of upholding the human factor, creating conditions for people to fully realize human rights and citizenship in economic, civil, political, and social spheres.

All institutional reforms must be people-centered, aiming to respect, ensure and protect human rights, unleash human potentials, and create favorable and equal conditions for each person. As the General Secretary pointed out: “We need a society in which development is truly for the people, not for profit, which exploits and tramples on human dignity”(6). The ultimate goal of the National Assembly is to serve the interests of the nation and nation, for the people’s happiness; arouse the faith and strength of the whole nation in development efforts. With the trust and responsibility given, voters and people expect that the 15th National Assembly will soon concretize the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress into policies and laws for the development of the country in the coming period, in order to realize it. By 2045, Vietnam set goals to become a developed, high-income country.

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Endnotes:

(1), (5) CPV: Document of the 13th National Congress, vol.II, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, pp.328, 332.

(2) Government News: http://baochinhphu.vn/Tieu-diem/Toan-van-phat-bieu-cua-Tong-Bi-thu-Nguyen-Phu-trong-tai-phien-khai-mac-Ky-hop-thu-nhat-Quoc-hoi-khoa-XV/438966.vgp, July 20, 2021.

(3), (4), Political Report submitted to the 13th Party Congress, Communist Review, No. 959 (2-2021), pp.26, 30.

(6) Nguyen Phu Trong: Some theoretical and practical issues on socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam, Nhan Dan Newspaper, No. 23945, May 17, 2021.

Dr. LE THI THU MAI

Institute of Political Science,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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