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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 14:34
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New viewpoints on, and solutions to, Party building in the Party’s 12th Congress Documents

(LLCT) - The Party’s 12th National Congress ended successfully. The Congress discussed draft documents of the 11th Central Committee, in a democratic manner and reached a high degree of unanimity about them. There were quite a few new things to the documents of the 12th Congress, especially its Political Report, compared to the Political Report of the 11th Congress. This showed development in the Party’s awareness, theoretical thinking and creative application suitable for the realities of the country. 

The Party’s 12th Congress reaffirmed that Party building was a central task. Making the Party transparent and politically, ideologically, organizationally and morally strong and actively innovating its mode of leadership are among fundamental issues which lay the foundation for building the Party strong enough to perform its tasks in the new situation. On the work of Party building, the documents of the 12th Congress introduce a number of new points of view and solutions compared to those of the 11th Congress.

Firstly, Party building is emphasized and given due importance.It plays a key role in national construction and protection. 1. The issue of “making the Party clean and strong” was identified as the first topic of the Congress and also the title of its political report, “Further making the Party transparent and strong; leveraging the strength of the entire nation and socialist democracy; intensifying renovation comprehensively and consistently; firmly protecting the homeland and maintaining the peaceful, stable environment; striving to make the Party a basically modernized, industrialized country”. 2. Among the 15 points corresponding to 15 major issues mentioned in the Political Report, the point on “making the Party transparent and strong and improving its leadership capacity and fighting spirit” is the longest, which shows the importance of Party building in the cause of building and safeguarding the socialist homeland of Vietnam. 3. The 12th Congress set six central tasks for its entire term of office. The first two tasks, which were related to the building of the Party and political system, are as follows:

Intensifying the building and rectification of the Party; preventing and checking the political, moral and lifestyle degeneration and signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among Party members. Focusing on training personnel, especially strategic one, so they will become capable, qualified, prestigious and suitable for their tasks.

Streamlining the political system and ensuring its effectiveness and efficiency; speed up the prevention and control of corruption, wastefulness and bureaucratic red tape.

Secondly, the 12th Congress laid down the general guideline for Party building for its entire term of office.“In the coming years, given heavy requirements and tasks of a new development period, [we must] further strengthen the Party and focus on resolutely and patiently implementing the resolution by the 4th Plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee on some urgent issues related to the current Party building”. The fact the 12th Congress aimed to continue to implement the resolution showed the political determination of the entire Party and political system to build and rectify the Party and consider this to be a central, fundamental, regular, long-term task in the current situation; the Congress was also determined to overcome some limitations and shortcomings as well as failures to achieve targets set by the resolution.

Thirdly, two central tasks concerning the building of the Party and political system have been translated by the 12th Party Central Committee into three projects, which are part of its termly agenda and would be submitted to its conferences.These projects include: 1. Intensifying the building and rectification of the Party and preventing ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration and signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” among Party members (This project was submitted to the 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee in October 2016.); 2. Continuing to change the Party’s leadership methods and streamlining the political system for increased effectiveness and efficiency; intensifying the prevention and control of corruption, wastefulness and bureaucratic red tape (This project will be submitted to the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee in October 2017.); and 3. Focusing on training personnel, particularly strategic one, so that they can acquire the ability, quality and prestige needed for their assignments (This project will be submitted to the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee in May 2018).

Fourthly, the resolution by the 12th Congress of the Party set 10 tasks concerning Party building, including two new ones compared to the 11th Congress, as follows:

To continue innovating mass mobilization and improving its quality and strengthening the tie between the Party and people. At the 11th Congress, there was no separate point of discussion about mass mobilization. At the same time, mass mobilization had some limitations. The development and especially implementation of the Party’s resolutions and directives on mass mobilization were far from timely or effective and failed to evaluate and predict accurately developments and changes in social and demographic structures and wishes of different walks of life in order to design suitable guidelines, policies and measures. Because of the importance of mass mobilization and its current situation, the 12th Congress had a separate discussion about this work in an attempt to foster the implementation of 2013 Constitution articles about tightening the bond between the Party and people and sustaining the implementation of the resolution by the 7th Plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee on increasing and innovating the Party’s leadership over mass mobilization in the new situation.

The 12th Congress of the Party suggested several new solutions for carrying out this task. Firstly, consolidate people’s trust in the Party, intensify national solidarity and strengthen the tie between the Party and people; and timely and effectively respond to people’s questions, recommendations and complaints. Secondly, innovate the way of the Party leading mass mobilization, given the development of the socialist-oriented market economy and international integration. Party officials and members had to nurture genuine faith in people, respect them, stay in close touch with them, understand them, learn from them, rely on them, and be accountable to them. Thirdly, continue to institutionalize and concretize the triangular relation: “the Party leads, the State manages, and people take charge”, especially the “people take charge” aspect, as well as the motto “people know, people discuss, people do, people examine”.

To intensify the prevention and control of corruption and wastefulness. At the 11th Congress, this work was mentioned in the discussion about the building of the socialist law-ruled State. At the 12th Congress, it was mentioned both in the discussion about Party building and State building. The aim is to increase the Party’s leadership over the prevention and control of corruption and wastefulness.

The Political Report of the 12th Congress of the Party points out the fact that Party committees and authorities at various levels were not performing well as leaders, instructors, managers and enforcers for the prevention and control of corruption and wastefulness; that the aggregate strength of the entire political system and population was not tapped for this cause; and that this cause failed to achieve its objectives or requirements.

Given that fact, the Report states that the prevention and control of corruption is a regular, important yet difficult, complicated, long-term task. Party committees at various levels, first and foremost heads of these committees, authorities and the entire political system must be resolute in the prevention and control of corruption and wastefulness. They must punish timely and strictly acts of corruption and wastefulness and those which cover up or collude in such acts and those which intervene in, or hinder, the prevention and control of corruption and wastefulness.

The 12th Congress put forward several new solutions to carrying out this task as follows:

To complete the Party’s regulations and the State’s policies and laws in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the prevention and control of corruption and wastefulness, especially in corruption-prone areas such as management and use of land, exploitation of natural resources and minerals, budget collection and spending, public purchases, and implementation of capital construction projects;

To resolutely and patiently develop preventive, deterrent, punitive mechanisms so against corruption; and

To strictly enforce regulations concerning the inventory of assets and incomes of government officials, civil servants and employees, especially those in leadership and management positions and the control of such inventory; and limit cash-based transactions.

Fifthly, in addition to two new tasks compared to the 11th Congress, the remaining eight tasks on Party building were supplemented or expanded or were given greater emphasis as follows:

Attaching importance to the building of the Party in political terms.

Documents of the 11th Congress mentioned the task to “build the Party politically strong”. Because of limitations such as institutionalization, the development of action plans, and implementation of the Party’s resolutions, directives, regulations and conclusions being untimely, inconsistent, unspecific and inefficient and the leadership capacity and fighting spirit of quite a few Party organizations being low, the 12th Congress expanded the phrase, emphasizing, “Attach importance to the building of the Party in political terms”.

The 12th Congress suggested solutions for carrying out this task. Firstly, remain loyal to principled issues related to Party building; improve the Party’s leadership capacity and ensure its leadership was effective and efficient; and preserve the political mettle of the Party and its officials and members. Secondly, increase the capacity for formulating guidelines and policies suitable for objective laws and the country’s characteristics in order to create breakthroughs for development. Thirdly, perfect the mechanisms and regulations concerning criticism, self-criticism and Q&A sessions during meetings of the Party Central Committee, lower level Party committees and standing committees of Party committees at various levels, and perform this work seriously and effectively. Finally, develop and implement effectively mechanisms for encouraging people’s participation in the building of the Party and authorities.

Innovating ideological and theoretical work.

The 11th Congress set the task to “Improve the quality and efficiency of ideological and theoretical work”. The 12th Congress expanded it and gave it greater stress, “Innovate ideological and theoretical work”. The reason was that ideological and theoretical work did not achieve a high degree of quality and efficiency and it was not done skillfully or convincingly and that reality review and theoretical research did not meet requirements of the renovation cause and that the methods for teaching and learning political theories remained outdated.

To fulfill this task, the 12th Congress proposed new solutions. Firstly, continue to transform the content and methodology of ideological work and further increase its fighting spirit, persuasiveness and efficiency so as to serve political assignments, suit specific periods of time and create a high degree of unity within the Party as well as social consensus. Secondly, intensify the communication and education of Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought, the Party’s points of view and guidelines and the State’s policies and laws in such a way as to suit target groups and ensure this work is specific, practical and effective. Thirdly, continue to innovate our theoretical thinking; intensify reality review, theoretical research and provision of scientific grounds and theories for the planning and development of the Party’s guidelines and policies and the State’s laws. (What is new was that reality review is placed before theoretical research). Finally, provide regular theoretical training and knowledge updates for Party officials and members, including those in leadership and management positions, particularly central-level ones.

Intensifying the training of revolutionary moral standards and checking individualism, opportunism and excessive practicalism.

The 11th Congress set tasks to “train revolutionary moral standards and check individualism”. The 12th Congress supplemented them, “intensify the training of revolutionary moral standards and checking individualism, opportunism and excessive practicalism”. These are new, crucial tasks in order to achieve the goal of “Making the Party transparent and strong in political, ideological, organizational and moral terms”. The addition of the moral aspect is of special importance in the current situation as corruption and wastefulness remain rampant and increasingly sophisticated and complicated, and ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration among some Party officials and members have not been warded off or have even become more complicated in some cases. Therefore, the 12th Congress stressed the need to “intensify the training of revolutionary moral standards” for Party officials and members. This shows the Party’s political determination to prevent and check ideological, political, moral and lifestyle degeneration, signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”, bureaucratic red tape, corruption, wastefulness, localism, factionalism, “group interests”, and the situation where actions fail to follow words. At the same time, this confirms the Party’s view on the training of the personnel of the political system. According to the Party, such training should “emphasize both morality and talent and consider the first to be the root” so that “the Party is a moral, civilized organization”, as Ho Chi Minh once said.

The 12th Congress worked out some solutions. Firstly, increasingly encourage people to learn from, and follow, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and style. Secondly, strictly enforce mechanisms for the examination, supervision and control of Party organizations and those for allowing the Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations and ordinary people to challenge the moral standards and lifestyles of Party officials and members.

Continuing the transformation and strengthening of the organization and apparatus of the Party and political system.

The current situation shows that the organization and apparatus of the Party and political system remain cumbersome and have too many levels. The functions and tasks of some Party organizations still overlap each other. The effectiveness and efficiency of many organizations of the political system remain inadequate. The number of government officials and civil servants is increasing instead of decreasing. This is especially the case in public offices and among government employees and specialized and non-specialized personnel in communes, districts and district capitals.

Therefore, the 12th Congress continued to expand on, and concretize, the 11th Congress’ guidelines. The Politburo’s Resolution 39-NQ/TW on the downsizing of the payroll and restructuring the composition of government officials, civil servants and employees and the 11th Party Central Committee’s Conclusion 64-KL/TW titled “Some issues related to continued transformation of the political system from central to local levels” emphasized the need for continued transformation and strengthening of the Party apparatus and political system so that they can become lean, effective and efficient; for improvement of leadership and management capacity; for perfection of functions and tasks of governmental officials and civil servants and increase of their capabilities; and for determination of the relationship between collective leadership and individual responsibility.

The 12th Congress came up with a few solutions. Firstly, perfect mechanisms for checking power and preventing abuse of power and violation of discipline and order and strictly enforce them. Secondly, experiment with merging some Party and State organizations with similar functions and tasks. Thirdly, implement the policy of unified management of the payroll across the political system. Fourthly, streamline the apparatus while continuing to determine the functions and tasks of organizations and their modes of operation. Fifthly, some people should assume multiple positions and the entire political system needs downsizing. Finally, implement the model where the secretary of a Party committee is also the chairperson of the people’s council at the same level and soon review this model in eligible places such as communes and districts.

Strengthening Party organizations and increasing the quality of Party members.

The 11th Congress set tasks to “strengthen Party organizations and increase the quality of Party members”. The 12th Congress supplemented and clarified them: “Strengthen the organization of Party organizations and increase their quality and efficiency and raise the quality of Party members”.

 The 12th Congress proposed some solutions. Firstly, strengthen Party organizations and ensure the Party’s comprehensive leadership over its affiliate organizations. Secondly, look back at the implementation of the Party Central Committee’s regulations concerning Party members doing the private economy and pilot admission of people who are owners of private businesses into the Party. Finally, train Party members so they can be really pioneers, set good examples, respect people, stay in close touch with them, understand them, learn from them, persevere with all difficulties and challenges and strive for the Party’s objectives and ideals.

Transforming personnel work and protecting internal politics.

The 11th Congress set the tasks to “transform personnel work and attach importance to the protection of internal politics”. The 12th Congress supplemented and clarified them, “Dramatically transform personnel work and attach importance to the protection of internal politics”. The Political Report of the 12th Congress frankly admitted that the protection of internal politics had some limitations and failed to have a good grasp of contemporary political issues and deal with them whereas signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” tended to become complicated within the Party, political system and society.

The 12th Congress stressed the need to foster the “Personnel strategy for the period of intensified national industrialization and modernization”; institutionalize and concretize principles concerning Party building; continue to issue and enforce regulations and rules related to personnel work and ensure unity, consistency and coherence between different stages and interconnectivity between different levels; develop regulations concerning accurate, objective evaluation of government officials and use them as the basis for their use and appointment and for prevention of practices such as buying office or qualifications or falsely reporting one’s real ages.

In order to fulfill these tasks, the 12th Congress put forward some solutions: Firstly, institutionalize and concretize the Party’s principles on the relationship between political guidelines and personnel ones; between class-based views and solidarity policies in personnel work; between standards and structures; between morality and talent; between inheritance and development; between the Party’s unified management and full responsibility of bodies of the political system; and between individual and collective authority and responsibility. Secondly, transform elections within the Party and methods of selecting and appointing officials so as to choose those who have strong political determination, high moral standards, be dynamic and creative, dare to take risks, and have a strong sense of responsibility for leadership positions, particularly heads of organizations. Thirdly, focus on training personnel, especially strategic one, so they can have the quality, ability and prestige needed for their assignments. There should be mechanisms and policies aimed at discovering, attracting and appreciating talented people. Fourthly, emphasize the responsibility of Party committees, particularly grassroots-level ones, for the protection of internal politics; and connect this work with the building and rectification of the Party. A central task of the protection of internal politics should be protecting the Party’s Political Platform and Charter as well as the Constitution and law. Finally, be resolute in the prevention and control of signs of localism, factionalism, “group interests” and acts detrimental to solidarity within the Party. Strictly punish Party officials or members who violate the Party Central Committee’s regulations concerning things Party members are not allowed to do, especially when it comes to their words, or those who spread information or documents against the Party’s Political Platform, Charter, resolutions, directives and regulations as well as the State’s Constitution and law. Combat effectively “peaceful evolution” plots and activities by hostile forces.  

Innovating Party inspection, supervision and discipline and improving their effectiveness and efficiency.

The 11th Congress set the task of “innovating inspection and supervision and improving their efficiency”. The 12th Congress added emphatically, “Innovating Party inspection, supervision and discipline and improving their effectiveness and efficiency”. This task was set because of the contemporary situation: the quality and efficiency of the inspection, supervision and disciplining of Party organizations and members are not high enough to prevent or control corruption, wastefulness within the Party; a large number of shortcomings or mistakes of Party organizations and members were untimely discovered, inspected or punished or were processed for prolonged periods of time, leading to slack discipline in many places; the role of organizations of the political system and people in examination and supervision and responsibility for this kind of work were not fully promoted.

The 12th Congress proposed some solutions. Firstly, timely and strictly punish Party organizations and members who violate the Party’s Political Platform, Charter, directives and regulations and the State’s laws, as well as acts which tolerate or cover up shortcomings or mistakes of Party organizations and members. Punishments should be made public. Secondly, focus on the development and perfection of the Party’s regulations in order to improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of Party inspection, supervision and discipline. Thirdly, attach importance to examining and supervising heads of Party committees and organizations and State organizations as to their moral standards and ways of life and prevent these people’s families from taking advantage of their office and authority for their private interests. Finally, find ways to delegate greater Party inspection and disciplining authority to inspection committees at various levels.

Innovating the Party’s mode of leadership.

On this task, the 12th Congress emphasized some limitations such as the innovation of the Party’s mode of leadership over the State, Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations being slow, the Party’s mode of leadership over the State being somewhat perplexing, and the content and mode of ruling being unclear.

Given that situation, the 12th Congress stressed the need to continue transforming the Party’s mode of leadership over the political system, particularly the State. Party organizations and members must set examples in the observance of the Constitution and law. The Congress also called for innovation of the Party’s mode of leadership over the Fatherland Front of Vietnam and socio-political organizations, respect for the principle of democratic negotiation in the organization and operation of the Fatherland Front, and importance to the building of culture in Party organizations, State bodies and the political system.

The 12th Congress put forward some new solutions: Firstly, continue to reality review and theoretical research into the ruling Party; determine the objectives, mode, and content of, and conditions for, holding power; encourage democracy in the context of the one-Party rule; and be watchful for dangers to the ruling Party. Secondly, continue to concretize Party’s mode of leadership, which was determined in the Program for National Construction during the Transition to Socialism, which was supplemented and revised in 2011, at all levels through specific regulations, rules and procedures. Thirdly, set clearer criteria for the Party serving people, being subject to people’s supervision and being accountable to people for its decisions; and determine more clearly the authority and responsibility of the Party Central Committee, Politburo, Secretariat, and standing committees of Party committees at various levels. Fourthly, there should be further delegation and empowerment and mechanisms for provinces and cities promoting their proactivity and creativity while emphasizing responsibility and ensuring unified leadership and management of the Party Central Committee. Finally, transform the modes and styles of working of the Party’s leadership authorities, from central to local levels, and establish work styles which must be scientific, collective and democratic, in close touch with people, respecting them, working for them, keeping up with reality, and matching actions and words.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Minh Chinh

Member of the Politburo and Party Secretariat

Head of the Organization Committee under the Party Central Committee

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