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Thursday, 29 November 2018 11:50
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Organization and operation of the Vietnamese political system: Issues in question

(LLCT) - The socialist political system in Vietnam is a whole, consisting of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations working in order to maintain and protect the power and interests of the working class, laborers and Vietnamese people. With three basic characteristics including monism, democracy and unity, this system proved its superiority during the revolutionary period of Vietnam which was widely supported by the people. Despite the advantages, the organizational and operational model of the Vietnamese political system has exposed several limitations and shortcomings such as cumbersome apparatus with low efficiency, unidentified and overlapping relationship between subjects which have not fully promoted the potential, activeness of the subjects, etc.. Thus, renovating the operation of the political system is a requirement posed by the current cause of renovation.

1. Characteristics of the Vietnamese political system

The concept of “political system” was first introduced in official documents of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) from the Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (6th tenure). So far, the concept of political system has been used quite commonly in official documents of the Party, the State, research works, and scientific forums.

The socialist political system in Vietnam is a whole including the political institutions such as the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and people’s unions (including the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Vietnam Farmer’s Union, and the Vietnam Veteran Association) which are set up from central to grassroots levels and operated in order to maintain and protect the power and interests of the working class, laborers, and Vietnamese people.

Compared with the political systems of some countries, the Vietnamese political system has the following characteristics and features:

Firstly, the Vietnamese political system is a monistic political system which ensures the unity of objectives and interests.

The political monism of Vietnamese political system of Vietnam is expressed as follows:

+ As for organization. In Vietnam, there are many organizations and people’s unions, but no opposing political organizations and parties are publicly set up. Socio-political organizations and people’s unions all recognize the leadership and the sole ruling position of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and they are under the Party’s leadership.

+ As for ideology: The political monism of the political system is shown in all operations of the political system organized and operated on the ideological basis of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought. It aims to struggle for, and protect the political power of the working class represented by the Communist Party of Vietnam, serving the purposes and ideals of the working class and the people of Vietnam.

The unity of the Vietnamese political system is as follows:

+ Unity of goals. The Vietnamese political system is divided into three parts: the Party, the State and the people’s unions. These three parts have the same goal: struggle to maintain national independence and move towards socialism, build Vietnam into a wealthy nation, strong, just and civilized country. National independence and socialism have been the goal since the birth of the Party and the establishment of the people’s government - the goal throughout the Vietnamese revolution and the choice of all Vietnamese people. All activities of the members of the political system aim at achieving that goal.

+ Unity of operation modes. The Vietnamese political system consists of many organizations with different characteristics, positions, roles, and functions, but they are closely linked with each other to form a unified whole from central to grassroots levels.

All the operations of the political system are under the unified leadership of the only ruling party, the Communist Party of Vietnam. The unity of diverse members, abundant organizations and operation modes in the political system has facilitated the promotion of the comprehensive power and creation of power resonance in the entire system.

+ Unity of operation principles. All operations of the Vietnamese political system, from the Communist Party of Vietnam, the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Vietnam Fatherland Front to socio-political unions, are organized and operated on the principles of democratic centralism, direct and comprehensive leadership of the Party over the political system and the whole society, reliance on the people and maintenance of close relationships with the people, great national unity considering national interest as the center, and the people as the master of society and country. The State power belongs to the people.

+ As for organization. The Vietnamese political system is unified in terms of organization and operations from central to grassroots levels. Basically, the subordinate political system is a miniature model of the superior one. The subordinate apparatuses of Party, Government, and unions have the same function and agencies as those of the superior ones, but they are simpler. Such system organization ensures unity, thoroughness in leadership, direction and operation from central to grassroots levels.

Secondly, the organization of the Vietnamese political system expresses profoundly the nature of both the class and the people.

In the Vietnamese political system, the Party is the pioneer of the Vietnamese working class, representing the interest of the working class and laborers. Thus, the Party itself contains the elements of class and people which both show the nature of the class and the people of the Party. That is the difference of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a tool of the class, bearing the working class nature, and it is also the State of the people, by the people and for the people. This State also contains the nature of the class and the people.

The Front and people’s unions in the political system of Vietnam are under the leadership of the Party. All the activities of the Front and people’s unions serve the purposes of the class and the people, for the benefit of the class and the people. Through the organization and activities of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and people’s unions, all the classes and social groups share a voice, have the right to express their feelings, aspirations, wish, and opinions, and receive respect.

Thirdly, the organization of the Vietnamese political system ensures extensive democracy, strictness, and supremacy of the law.

First of all, the extensive democracy of the organization in the Vietnamese political system manifesting all the organizations in the system tends to ensure the right to mastery of the people.  The people are the master of the country and the subject of power. The power of the State is the one entrusted by the people. The benefit of the people is supreme. It is the people who decide the destiny of the country.

Extensive democracy also expresses that all feelings, aspirations of the people, classes, and social groups are respected. The Party and the State always respect the needs, aspirations and rights of all citizens. All people have equal rights to participate in the political work of the country, take part in social management, join in elections, and choose their representatives without discrimination.

Along with extensive democracy, the organization of the Vietnamese political system also shows the strictness and supremacy of the law. The Vietnamese Constitution stipulates that the Party and the State respect people’s freedom, freedom of association, etc., but the whole political system, including the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, and people’s unions, must operate in the framework of the Constitution and law. Any acts contrary to the Constitution, law, and interests of the class and nation must be severely punished without discrimination. All the charters of the Party, Fatherland Front, and people’s unions show the unity of operation in the framework of the Constitution and law.

Fourthly, the organization of the Vietnamese political system ensures the unity and focus in operation as well as promoting the dynamism and activeness of all levels, from central to grassroots ones.

The organization of the Vietnamese political system is divided into 4 levels: central, provincial, district, and grassroots. The equivalents are the agencies of the Party, unions, and State at central, provincial, district and commune, ward, and town levels. Organization and operation of the political system in Vietnam is in accordance with democratic centralism and unified power.

Article 2 of the 2013 Constitution specifies: “The State power is unified and delegated to state agencies which coordinate with and control one another in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judicial powers”.

On the other hand, the Vietnamese political system also indicates the assignment and devolution of responsibilities and facilitates the promotion of the role, dynamism, and activeness of agencies and governments at all levels. The assignment and devolution are shown in the identification of the authority, functions and tasks of the elements of the political system. It is defined in the Vietnamese political system that the Party leads, the State manages, and the people are the masters.

In the State apparatus, each part is assigned a clear responsibility: the National Assembly is the legislative agency, the Government is the executive agency, and the Court and Procuracy are the judicial agencies in charge of supreme supervision over the activities of the State.

In general, the Vietnamese political system with its three basic characteristics of monism, democracy, and unity has proved its superiority in creating socio-political stability during the process of the Vietnamese revolution and mobilized a large number of people and their support. This political system has maintained the leadership of the Party, the power of the State, and the people’s democracy. Thanks to these basic characteristics, the Vietnamese political system has fulfilled its mission to the nation and people over the past 70 years.

Beside the mentioned advantages, the organization and operation model of the Vietnamese political system also reveals its limitations and shortcomings.

Basically, the Vietnamese political system is organized according to the political model of the Soviet and former socialist countries. Although, the Party and State focus on renovating the political system in the renovation process, the core issues and frames are still embedded with the characteristics of the Soviet model which contains certain defects. That is shown as follows:

- The current organization method of the political system creates cumbersomeness and low effect in its operation.

- The political system remains stagnant, and it has not fully promoted the potential and dynamism of the subjects yet.

- The current political system fails to successfully implement the mechanisms for organizing the performance of political power and state power, leading to the overlapping situation and decline of efficiency and effect of the state power implementation process.

In short, the current organization and operation of the Vietnamese political system have both advantages and disadvantages. The overall model of the organization of the political system has not been finalized. The legal system is not synchronous and there are many loopholes. The mechanism of leadership and management and relationships between the subjects are overlapping and unclear. These are the shortcomings in the political system in Vietnam today.

2. Issues on the political system model and its renovation in Vietnam today

From the actual situation of the organization and operation of the Vietnamese political system and from the need to reform the political system to meet the requirements and tasks of the country in the new revolutionary period, many theoretical and practical issues need to be addressed.

Firstly, the issue of identifying the position, role and solving the relationship of functions, tasks, authority and responsibility among organizations in the political system.

Both theory and practice are posing an issue: What is the relationship between the power of the ruling Party and that of the State? The CPV is the ruling Party. However, what are the rights and extent? What is the ruling content and mode in the condition of the only ruling Party so as to promote the role and power of the State as well as avoid monopoly and abuse of power?

The power of the State is entrusted by the people, but the State is under the leadership of the Party and supervision of the people. What is the mechanism for the people to supervise and control their power?

The relationship “the Party leads, the State manages and the people are the masters”, which promotes the democratic right of the people, has been institutionalized over the past 30 years by the Party, but it has been a rather general issue so far. What is the leadership and direction of the Party, what is the management of the State, and what is the mastery of the people? In general, we lack a complete and specific set of regulations on this issue.

Secondly, the issue of strengthening the organizational model, perfecting the legal system, mechanisms and regulations for operation of the entire political system to ensure the true mastery of the people.

As for the organization of the ruling Party in the context of the only Party leading the State, the issue is how to basically overcome the overlapping and cumbersomeness.

The 12th National Congress of the Party continued emphasizing the mission of “further institutionalizing and concretizing the relationship: ‘the Party leads, the State manages, and the people are masters’, especially the content of “people are the masters” and the motto “People know, people discuss, people do, and people supervise”(1). The “ruling Party” in Vietnam is leading not only the government but also the political system and the whole society. This is specified in the 2013 Constitution.

Thirdly, dealing with the relationship that the Party leads the political system but it is also a part of that system, the Party leads the political system and the members of the Fatherland Front but it is under the supervision of the Front and people’s unions.

In the current political system, the Communist Party of Vietnam is the nucleus and the leader, and a member of the Fatherland Front. Thus, the roles as the leader, nucleus of leadership, leader of the Front and member of the Front should be clearly defined. Presently, this relationship is not clear, so a lot of contents are actually misconceived, even used to impose subjective opinions.

In fact, there are several unclear points in the view that the Party leads the Vietnamese Fatherland Front while the Vietnamese Fatherland Front “carries out the roles of supervision and social criticism”, which need to be further clarified. Similarly, there are several unclear points in the view that “the State supports and facilitates the activities of the Front and other people’s unions” while “the Front and other people’s unions perform the roles of supervision and social criticism”, which need to be further clarified.

Fourthly, the relationship between devolution, decentralization, and control of the power of the subjects in the political system.

For Vietnam, the power is unified and centralized in the state apparatus; there is no power division but specific and clear assignment of responsibilities. Article 2 of the 2013 Constitution stipulates: “The state power is unified and delegated to state agencies which coordinate with and control one another in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judicial powers.”

However, how to address the relationship between the three legislative, executive and judicial parts so that they have a relative independence, close coordination, mutual control and monitoring is a matter which needs to be clarified.

In the Vietnamese state system, it is unified from central to grassroots levels; there is no power division but devolution. The Vietnamese Constitution does not permit self-determination and autonomy of the localities, but it respects and ensures cultural identity, customs, languages of ethnic groups and the activeness of local authorities in determining some local issues in the framework of Constitution and law. However, how to devolve and decentralize between the central and local ones to ensure national unity, a socialist law-ruled government, guarantee the activeness of the local authorities, not falling into the “regional-ruling” state, ensure the democratic rights and supervision of the local authorities towards the central government is a theoretical and practical issue which needs a solution.

3. Orientations for renovating the political system in Vietnam

a) Raising the Party’s ruling capability and efficiency and effect of the State apparatus.

Implementing seriously and resolutely the Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure), continuing renovating and perfecting the organization of the Party and the political system in the direction of streamlining and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of leadership, direction, and operation.

In the short term, checking and rearranging the organizations and agencies, overcoming overlapping in functions and tasks. Strongly streamlining the staff. Renovating, improving the organization in association with perfecting function and task, improving the quality of staff and civil servants. The motto is that the State will set up no more and simultaneously dissolve the agencies and units that do the works which can be undertaken by society. Study to conduct pilot merge of some Party and State agencies similar in functions and tasks.

Enhancing the Party’s ruling capacity, first the capacity of orienting politics, paths and guidelines, and policy planning. Defining and demarcating clearly the contents and scope of the Party’s leadership. Renovating the Party’s leadership towards the State. Overcoming cumbersomeness, encroachment, one-man show, pleading, and looseness in leadership and management.

Improving the quality of staff at all levels and sectors, especially the strategic staff.

Building pure, professional staff and civil servants with devotion towards the people, respect for the people,  and serving the people.

Continuing synchronous administrative reform, which should strongly focus on reforming administrative procedures; speeding up the construction of e-government, or e-administration. Applying information technology to social management.

Building and perfecting the regulation on controlling power and responsibility of the leader in implementing the decision of the superior executive committee and the Government.

b) Continuing building and perfecting the socialist law-ruled State.

This is the central task of reforming the political system.

Focusing on reforming the pure administration for the people. The State must build a streamlined, effective, and efficient apparatus with the staff and civil servants having high quality, capacity, and professionalism.

Building the law-ruled State together with the legislative, executive, and judiciary parts, both the central and local governments. Constructing the law-ruled State together with renovating the political system in the direction of being streamlined, and having effectiveness, and efficiency in association with the reforms of the economy, culture, and society.

Improving the mechanism for protecting the Constitution and law. Seriously fulfilling and implementing the mechanism to control power, prevent power abuse, and violation of discipline and rule.

Promoting the improvement of the institutions as the legal basis for their organization and operation in the political system. Legalizing and regulating the positions, functions, tasks, powers and operation mechanisms of the constituents of the political system as well as the relations between the constituents of the political system, ensuring all activities of the political system in the framework of the Constitution and the law, following and abiding the Constitution and law.

c) Strengthening socialist democracy, ensuring the real democratic rights of the people. Building the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations as the political foundation of the Party and the people’s government.

Institutionalizing and improving the quality of the forms of performing direct democracy and representative democracy. Keeping on implementing democracy at grassroots level, perfecting the legal system, respecting, ensuring and protecting human rights, the citizens’ rights and duties, attaching rights to duties, and promoting social morality.

Further consolidating, improving and raising the quality and effect of operation of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and its member organizations by streamlining them with clear functions and tasks and without overlapping; clarifying the supervisory mechanisms, and social criticism of the Front and its member organizations towards the operation of state agencies through specific legal bases.

Renovating the leadership of the Party and management of the State over the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and socio-political unions in the direction of creating conditions for the Front and socio-political unions to be more self-controlling and active in operation, overcoming the state of being “nationalized” and “administrationalized” to be closer to the people.

Continuing revising, amending, supplementing, or promulgating new laws on the organization and operations of socio-political organizations in accordance with the new regulations of the Constitution; establishing appropriate relations with state agencies to ensure the promotion of the strength, objectives and significance of each organization in participating in building the State and protecting legitimate interests, and promoting democracy for its members. Establishing people’s supervisory mechanisms over State power, renovating and improving supervision over State power, raising the role of the Fatherland Front in social criticism, boosting administrative reforms and streamlining the staff, etc.. Renovating the participation of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and its member organizations in the management of the State and society.

d) Promoting the prevention and fight against corruption, manifestations of degradation in political ideology, lifestyle, and ethics among a number of cadres and party members; purifying the Party and public agencies.

Seriously implementing the Resolutions of the 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (11th and 12th tenures). Focusing on instructing the work of building and perfecting legal institutions and socio-economic management policies in various aspects in order to raise the effect of management and actively prevent, stop and eliminate the conditions and opportunities for corruption.

Further improving the institution and strengthening the tasks of examination, inspection, auditing, investigation, prosecution and trial of corruption acts. Quickly consolidating the anti-corruption agencies directly supervised by the Government Inspector General, the Minister of Public Security and the Prosecutor General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy. Researching reality and organizing an independent national anti-corruption committee to be established by the National Assembly.

_____________________________

Endnote:

(1) CPV: Document of the 12th National Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, p.210-211.

References:

1. CPV: Documents of the 6th to 12th National Congresses.

2. CPV: Charter of the Party (11th tenure)

3. The 2013 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

4. The National Assembly: The Law on Organization of the People’s Councils and People’s Committees.

5. The National Assembly: The Law of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front 75/2015/QH13

6. Party Personnel Bureau of Ministry of Justice: Report to the Secretariat on Building socialist law-ruled State of Viet Nam, 2010.

7. Nguyen Thi Hanh et al.: Ministerial-level project on amending the Government’s institutions in the 1992 Constitution.

8. Tran Ngoc Duong: Assignment, coordination and control of power with the amendment of the 1992 Constitution, National Political - Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2012.

9. The Central Theoretical Council: General report on result of scientific research topic: Renovating the political system and expression of political system renovation in the Constitution, 2011.

10. The Socialist Law-ruled State of the People, by the People, for the People - Theory and Practice, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2010.

11. Some models of political regime in the world and reference values to ensure the sustainable development of the political system in Vietnam; Ministerial-level Scientific Topic, chaired by Associate Professor Truong Thi Thong, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, 2016.

 

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Kim Viet

Institute of Party Building, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

 

 

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