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The Party’s awareness development on state power control

(LLCT) - State power and State power control are central issues in the political life of every country. State power is always two-sided: On the one hand, it is an essential factor for social organization and management; on the other hand, it imposes risks on degeneration leading to autocracy and dictatorship, which is against the interests of the people as the subjects of State powers. The Party’s awareness and development of theoretical thinking on power control in general and State power control in particular are of important significance, being the theoretical basis for developing the State power control mechanism in Vietnam. This paper contributes to clarifying the process of the Party’s awareness and theoretical foundation on State power control in the renewal period; proposing some solutions to continue the development and completion of the State power control mechanism in Vietnam today.

 

Keywords: State power, State power control.

1. The process of the Party’s awareness and theoretical development on State power control

The 6th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (1986) initiated the country’s comprehensive renewal, putting economic renovation at the center and gradually renovating the political system, of which the State is the central pillar, and defining “the relationship of the Party leadership, people’s mastery and State management as the general mechanism for managing the whole society”(1). At the same time, it was required “to establish a new management mechanism and to conduct a major reform of the organizational apparatus of State agencies...”(2). The renovation of the political system and the State apparatus towards “ensuring real democracy for the working people” has facilitated the transition from the bureaucratic, subsidized, centrally-planned State model into a law-governed State of the people, by the people, and for the people. Based on the orientations set forth by the 6th National Party Congress, the Party’s documents in the following periods have gradually clarified the socialist law-ruled State model and the State power control mechanism in Vietnam.

The Platform on national construction in the transitional period towards socialism (1991) affirms, “the entire organization and operation of Vietnam’s political system in the new period is to build and gradually complete the socialist democracy, ensuring the power belongs to the people”; the State is the “organization that demonstrates and implements the will and power of the people, on behalf of the people,” and it must “have a regular and close connection with the people, respect and listen to their opinions, and be under their supervision”(3). At the same time, it emphasizes the need for “a mechanism and measure to control, prevent, and punish acts of bureaucracy, corruption, abuse of power, irresponsibility and infringement upon democratic rights of the people”(4) in the organization and operation of the State apparatus. The Platform has laid the foundation for the establishment of measures of State power controlled from outside – the control by the people as the ultimate subjects of the State power.

The Platform also proposes a new principle in organizing and exercising State power in Vietnam, in which “the Vietnamese State unifies the legislative, executive, and judicial powers with a clear division of the three powers”(5). Although there are no specific regulations on State power- controlling mechanisms, “the clear division of three powers” itself contains power-controlling elements, contributing to limit autocracy and authoritarianism in exercising the State power. Furthermore, the Platform manifests a new development of Party’s awareness on organizing and exercising the State power, creating the premise for building a socialist law-ruled State in Vietnam. Based on the Party’s viewpoints mentioned in the Platform, the Constitution of 1992 has institutionalized them into the regulation: “Ours is the socialist law-governed State, of the people, by the people, and for the people; State power is unity with delegation of power to, and coordination among, State bodies in exercising legislative, executive and judicial rights”(6). This is the first time the Vietnamese Constitution recognizes the “socialist law-ruled State” and the principle of “delegation and coordination” in exercising State power and establishing a power-controlling mechanism in Vietnam.

The Platform also clearly states that the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, as “a political alliance of mass organizations,” “play a very important role in the solidarity of the entire people…”(7). However, the role of these organizations in participating in State power control has not been clarified.

Documents of the 8th, 9th and 10th Party National Congresses in 1996, 2001 and 2006 respectively continue to affirm the principle “all State power belongs to the people,” and at the same time initially clarifies certain methods to empower the people to exercise their right to mastery and to participate in State power control, such as: “To implement the democratic regulation at grassroots level, facilitating the people to participate in social management, discussion and decisions on important issues; to overcome all manifestations of formal democracy; to build the Law on referendums”(8).

Based on the consensus on the principle that State power is unity with delegation of power to, and coordination among, State bodies in exercising legislative, executive, and judicial rights, documents of the 10th National Party Congress specify some content of power-controlling mechanisms within the State apparatus, affirming that “it is necessary to develop and complete the mechanism of examining and monitoring the constitutionality and lawfulness in the operation and decisions of public authorities”(9), and “To build a mechanism for judging violations of the Constitutions in legislative, executive, and judicial sectors”(10). This policy manifests a higher development in the Party’s awareness of State power control, which is not only the “delegation and coordination” of the exercise of power, but also the orientation for the State to build and promulgate specific mechanisms for controlling power and handling infringement of the Constitution by public authorities. At the same time, this policy shows that the Party has been aware of the necessity of building a “constitutional protection” mechanism, ensuring the supremacy of the Constitution in the State apparatus’s organization and operation, as well as in  the adjustment of social relations, thereby, creating the premise for establishing a full and effective mechanism of State power control.

There have been considerable achievements in the awareness on the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations in participating in State power control. Starting from the viewpoint considering the Vietnam Fatherland Front as the alliance of the people’s political associations with a very important role in national unity, documents of the 8th Party National Congress affirm the “Vietnam Fatherland Front and its member organizations are the political base of the people’s government...overseeing the implementation of democracy, care, and protection of the legitimate interests of all social strata”(11). At the 9th Congress, the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations in controlling State power was concretized a step further: “The Vietnam Fatherland Front and its groups are the political base of the people’s government…promoting the ability to participate in elections of the National Assembly, the People’s Council at all levels... participating in the building and rectification of the Party, exercising the people’s supervision over the work, morality, and lifestyle of cadres, Party members, civil servants, elected representatives and State bodies”(12). The 10th National Party Congress documents add the “social criticism” function so that the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations can take part in State power control: “The State promulgates the mechanism for the Front and mass organizations to perform the role of supervision and social criticism”(13). Therefore, by the 10th National Party Congress, the Party had clarified the fundamental modes for the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations to participate in State power control such as participation in election negotiation, supervision, and social criticism, creating the premise for the State to constitutionalize them into mechanisms and organize their implementation. In the monistic political regime of our country, which has no separation of powers, no power to control other power, the control by the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations is very important.

The 11th National Party Congress and the Platform on national construction from the transitional period to socialism (supplemented and developed in 2011) continue to affirm that our State is a law-governed State of the people, by the people, and for the people; clarification methods and mechanisms for the people to exercise the right to mastery and to control the State power, which is “via the operation of the State, of the whole political system and forms of direct democracy, and representative democracy”(14). At the same time, these documents stress, “the State serves the people; closely associates with them; fully realizes the people’s democratic rights; respects, listens to their opinions and is subject to their supervision; adopts mechanisms and measures to control, prevent and punish bureaucracy, corruption, wastefulness, irresponsibility, abuse of power and infringement upon citizens’ democratic rights; strictly maintains social discipline and strictly punish all infringements upon the interests of the Fatherland and the people”(15).

The Platform represents a breakthrough in the awareness of State power control by adding the content of “control” to the principle of the organization and operation of agencies in our court. Accordingly, the Platform affirms, “The State power is unified with delegation of power to, and coordination among, State bodies in exercising legislative, executive and judicial rights”(16). Compared to the Platform of 1991 and previous National Party congresses, the Platform of 2011 manifests a deeper understanding by defining State power control as a principle of organizing State power in Vietnam. This awareness marks the beginning of the establishment of a mechanism for controlling power within the State apparatus between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers and the internal control of each right. Institutionalizing the Party’s policy, the Constitution of 2013 states that “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”(17). At the same time, the Constitution also clearly stipulates the subjects exercising the legislative, executive, and judicial powers: “the National Assembly exercises the constitutional and legislative power”(18); “the Government is the organ exercising executive power”(19); “The People’s Court is the organ exercising judicial power”(20). The constitutionalization of the “control” principle and the concretization of the delegation and coordination in the organization and exercise of the State power in the Constitution represent an important development in the perception and practice of building state power control in Vietnam.

The documents of the 11th National Party Congress continue to affirm the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations in controlling State power through social supervision and criticism: “the Fatherland Front and mass organizations continue to strengthen the organization, renew the content and mode of operation, exercise democracy, social supervision, and criticism”(21). On that basis, on December 12, 2013, the Politburo issued Decision No. 217-QD /TW on Regulations on social supervision and criticism of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and mass organizations, creating the mechanism for the people to supervise the State power.

The 12th National Party Congress affirms: “To continue to promote socialist democracy, ensuring all State power belongs to the people,” and at the same time, emphasizes “Guarantee the people’s participation in steps of the decision-making process related to the people’s interests and life, from raising ideas, participating in discussion, and debating, to monitoring their implementation”(22). The basic direction to expand and promote the people’s right to mastery and to facilitate the people to control State power is “institutionalizing and improving forms of direct democracy and representative democracy...continuing to implement democracy at grassroots level; improving the legal system; respecting, guaranteeing, and protecting the human rights, fundamental rights, and obligations of citizens”(23).

The Congress continues to affirm the principle of “delegation, coordination, control” in the organization and enforcement of State power. At the same time, it stresses that in the future it is necessary to “clearly define the mechanism of delegation and coordination in exercising State power, particularly the power-controlling mechanisms among State bodies in exercising the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers based on the fact that State power is united; to define more clearly the rights and responsibilities of each power; to develop clearer regulations on the coordination mechanisms in implementing and controlling powers at the various levels of government”(24).

Congress continues to highlight the roles of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and other socio-political organizations in participating in State power control, contributing to the promotion of democracy in society. They state “effectively organize the implementation of the Regulation on social supervision and criticism of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations(25)” and “establish effective supervision and control mechanisms. Promote the monitoring role of the elected bodies, the Fatherland Front, and people’s associations in the prevention and fight against corruption and wastefulness”(26).

The process of understanding and developing the Party’s theoretical thinking on State power control over the past 30 years of renewal has highlighted the following points:

First, the Party is increasingly aware of the role of the people as the supreme and original subject of State power, and that they are also the subject of State power control. This awareness originates from the consistency of the principle that all power belongs to the people. On that basis, methods have been gradually formalized so that the people can exercise their rights to mastery and to State power control. People control the State via elections, via elected bodies; via the social supervision and criticism of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, and the mass media; via the realization of human rights and citizen’s rights such as the right to complaint, denunciation, referendum, etc..

 Second, from the leadership practice in establishing a socialist law-ruled State and reforming the State apparatus, the Party’s rationale on the principle of organization and operation of the State apparatus in general, and control of internal power within the State apparatus in particular, has been increasingly supplemented and developed. From a State-subsidized, bureaucratic, centrally-planned model, which does not properly highlight the State power control, the affirmation of the “delegation, coordination, and control” principle in the organization and enforcement of State power is a breakthrough in theoretical perspective.

Third, the Party become increasingly aware of the role of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations in State power control. As a part of the political system, the political basis of the people’s government, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations are a tool for the people to exercise their right to mastery and State power control. The mechanisms for these organizations to participate in State power control such as social supervision and criticism, participation in electoral negotiation, and people’s inspection, etc., have been increasingly clarified.

2. The application of the Party’s viewpoints in building and perfecting State power control mechanism in Vietnam today.

Important developmental steps in the Party’s theoretical awareness on State power control have made direct impacts on the practice of the construction, consolidation, and operation of the political system in Vietnam in the renewal period. The people’s right to mastery has been increasingly guaranteed; the State apparatus has been gradually reformed in terms of organization and operation towards building a socialist law-ruled State; the State power control mechanism has been increasingly shaped, which contributes to limiting corruption. In order to continue the building and perfecting of State power control mechanisms in Vietnam, it is necessary to focus on the following content in the near future:

Firstly, the Party’s perception and thinking in the Renewal period has laid the theoretical foundation for the establishment of a State power control mechanism from outside, the people’s control over the organization and enforcement of State power. Therefore, it is necessary to continue the promotion of socialist democracy, ensuring that all State power belongs to the people, building and completing legal mechanisms for the people to control the State power via direct and indirect democracy.

It is necessary to concentrate on building and perfecting the legal system related to the people’s right to mastery, especially the legal documents directly related to regulations for the people to control the State power, such as the Law on election of deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels, the Law on Referendum, the Law on Complaints, the Law on Denunciations, the Law on supervision activities of the National Assembly and People’s Councils, the Law on Reception of citizens, the Law on organization of local government, and the Law on Demonstration, etc..

Renew and enhance the operational efficiency of the elected bodies, especially the National Assembly and the People’s Councils at all levels in order to promote the people’s right to mastery. Work to attach importance to building close relationships between elected representatives and the people, so that through these organizations, the people can express their aspirations, realize their will, and participate increasingly more and more substantially in State affairs, at the same time controlling elected representatives.

Build and perfect mechanisms for the people to control State power through such forms of direct democracy as the right to vote and disqualification of deputies of the National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels, the right to vote in the State referendums, the right to participation in the management of the State and society.

Continue to implement the Regulations on democracy at grassroots levels; respect, ensure, and protect human rights and citizen’s rights and obligations. Institutionalize and effectively implement the motto “people know, people discuss, people do, people check, and people benefit,” creating conditions for people to directly decide local important issues; to inspect and supervise activities of State bodies and State employees in localities.

Secondly, continue to build and perfect the State power control mechanism among State bodies in exercising the legislative, executive, and judicial powers; clearly define the internal control mechanisms of each power; better regulate the coordination mechanism in implementing and controlling these powers at the different levels of government.

Clearly regulate the functions, tasks, and powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial bodies in the State apparatus. State power control must begin with clearly identifying the power limits of each body to limit the abuse of power, at the same time minimizing duplications and contradictions in the exercise of power. It is also necessary to promote the role of internal control mechanisms such as inspection, examination, and audit, etc.

 Clearly indentify the mechanism of mutual control and restraint between the branches of power in the process of organizing and implementing State power. Perfect the control mechanism of the National Assembly over the activities of State bodies, especially the Government; establish a control mechanisms of the executive over legislative and judicial bodies; improve the performance of judicial agencies to ensure the role of the final “checkpoint” of the State power control.

Continue to clearly separate the power and responsibility among State agencies at the central and local levels and at each level of local government. Ensure the activeness and creativeness of local authorities in performing their tasks, and at the same time strengthen the control of the Central Government over local government during the decentralization of management.

Thirdly, renovate the organization and operation of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations. Continue to institutionalize the Politburo’s Regulation on social supervision and criticism and the Regulation of the Constitution of 2013 on the social supervision and criticism of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and its member organizations; enhance the role of the Fatherland Front in the organization of electoral negotiation and supervision. Add methods for these organizations to have more substantial participation in the State affairs, to control the operation of the State apparatus and State employees from the central to local levels and in all legislative, executive, and judicial spheres.

_______________________

(1), (2) CPV: Documents of the 6th National Party Congress, Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 1987, p.109.

(3), (4), (5), (7) CPV: The Party’s Collected Documents, vol.51, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2007, pp.145, 145, 146, 146.

(6) National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1992, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006, p.13.

(8), (12) CPV: Documents of the 9th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001, pp.134, 130.

(9), (10), (13) CPV: Documents of the 10th National Party Congress, Hanoi, 2006, p.126, 127, 124.

(11) CPV: Documents of the 8th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1996, p.128.

(14), (15), (16), (21) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, pp.85, 86, 85, 246.

(17), (18), (19), (20) National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 2013, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016, pp.9, 32, 49, 55.

(22), (23), (24), (25), (26) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Party Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, pp.169, 169, 176, 170, 307.Assoc. Prof. HO XUAN QUANG

Assoc. Prof. HO XUAN QUANG

MA. NGUYEN TUAN ANH

Quy Nhon University

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