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Tuesday, 25 February 2020 10:31
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Discussion of the leadership and ruling contents of the Communist Party of Vietnam

(LLCT) - The 12th National Congress of the Party requested a study on the ruling Party and the ruling contents of the Party. The ruling contents of the Communist Party of Vietnam mean the activities and works the Party is able to or needs to do with a view to using and promoting the position and power stipulated by the Constitution so as to affect and govern the State and society in order to show that it deserves the position and responsibility of the ruling Party. The ruling and leadership contents of the Party have similarities and differences. Thus, a clear differentiation is required to avoid imposing all the leadership contents on the ruling contents of the Party and preventing the Party from making excuses or taking on and intervening incorrectly in the State’s works.

Keywords: ruling Party, ruling contents of the Party.

1. The conception of the ruling contents of a political party

The ruling contents of a political party are the abbreviation of the operation contents of a ruling political party over the State and society. When becoming the ruling Party, the political party uses the position and power acknowledged in the constitution to implement its program and policies over the State and society.

The ruling contents of the political party mean the activities and works the ruling Party is able to and needs to do with a view to using and promoting the position and power stipulated by the Constitution so as to affect and govern the State and society during term of the State agencies so that they can express correctly and appropriately the position and responsibility of the ruling Party, keep the position of the ruling Party, and maintain this position in the next terms.

There are some points to note regarding this concept:

First, it is necessary to correctly understand the term “ruling” [which literally means holding the power]. It does not simply mean the action of holding power. The ruling Party must of course hold the power in order to prevent decline and loss of power. More importantly, it means to have power and use it, promoting the power that the ruling Party has, which is entrusted and acknowledged in the national Constitution. Accordingly, the ruling contents of the ruling Party include holding, using, and promoting the power of the party to merit the people’s honor and to continue being the ruling Party in the following terms of the National Assembly.

Second, it is necessary to correctly understand the word “power” in the phrase “ruling” holding the power. According to the original meaning, the word “power” means authority rather than government. Power has a wide connotation. This is the power to affect and govern not only the central government but also the general development of the whole society. Obviously, the central government is the   agency showing the political concentration. However, the State is just the agency entrusted to manage the country by the people. The political power still belongs to the people. The State only implements the management function over the major fields of social life. For example, the State does not take on the production and business function of enterprises and internal management function of the non-productive units. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the Party’s ruling contents on a wide scale over the whole society rather than to identify them with holding the government and restricting relation to the State.

Third, the power of the ruling Party is accompanied with responsibility, which is restricted by the Constitution and law. The power of the ruling political party is stipulated by the constitution and handed over by the people (voters). The ruling party is empower by the Constitution and it also bound by responsibility. The greater the power is, the heavier the responsibilities are. The Prime Minister and ministers, who are personnel of the ruling Party and assigned by it with the responsibility for interpellation before the National Assembly, can have no vote of confidence from the National Assembly. Some people have been forced to resign and are even prosecuted because they broke the law. The biggest political responsibility of the ruling Party is judged by people in the National Assembly election. If the ruling Party does not issue suitable policies and handle common social issues and external relations well and if the representatives abuse power or become corrupted, etc., they will lose the confidence and fail to achieve most of the seats in the National Assembly. The National Assembly and law have the mechanism to control power of the ruling Party.

Fourth, the relationship between the ruling contents and the ruling methods of the political party should be considered. For a ruling political party, there always are two fields to take care of: ruling contents and ruling methods. Generally, ruling contents mean the works that the ruling political party is able to and must do; ruling contents mean the manners, methods, and procedures the ruling Party uses to affect the State and society to successfully implement the ruling contents, and the party manifests its role and responsibility correctly. The ruling contents and methods have a close relationship with each other, in which the ruling contents are stipulated, and ruling methods and the ruling Party improve the ruling contents by performing the ruling methods.

2. The conception of the ruling contents of the Communist Party of Vietnam

The Communist Party of Vietnam has been the ruling Party since it led the Vietnamese to obtain the sovereignty and independence of the Nation after the victory of the August Revolution in 1945, in Northern Vietnam in 1954-1975, and in the whole country after April 1975. The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam has the shared characteristics like other ruling political parties in the world:

First, the Party uses the political power stipulated in the Constitution to govern and influence the State on institutionalizing and concretizing the political programs and orientations of the Party into specific laws, policies, programs, plans, into practice.

Second, the Party arranges and introduces Party staff and members for the leadership positions at the State agencies and to most of the representatives of the National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels to elect the Party staff and members introduced by the Party to the key positions of the state agencies, especially at the central level.

At the same time, the Communist Party of Vietnam has its own characteristics associated with the political institution of the country:

Firstly, the ruling Party is a monistic political institution, and it has been the only political Party since late 1988.

Secondly, the ruling Party is not elected but is the obvious succession because the Communist Party of Vietnam has been the only party leading the people and holding the power continuously since the establishment of the government.

Thirdly, the Party leads the armed forces totally and directly in all fields without “neutralization” and “depoliticization” of the army.

Fourthly, the Party has a political basis as an alliance between the working class, farmer class and intellectuals, whose representative is the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, and socio-political organizations that participate in building the Party, supervising, criticizing, and coordinating the operations with state agencies.

Accordingly, the ruling contents of the Communist Party of Vietnam mean the activities and works the Party is able to and needs to do with a view to using and promoting the position and power stipulated by the Constitution so as to affect and govern the State and society to ensure that it expresses fully and correctly, that it deserves the position and responsibility of the ruling Party, and that it keeps its position and maintains this in the future.

As a result, the ruling contents of the Communist Party of Vietnam are not just to hold the central government, but, more importantly, the Party uses and promotes the position stipulated by the Constitution, and works with most of the Party members in the National Assembly, People’s Councils at all levels, and leadership agencies of the socio-political organizations to affect and govern the State and society in order to manifest and deserve the position and responsibility of the ruling Party. That the Party holds the power is both the power and the responsibility of the Party to the State and society.

The ruling contents of the Communist Party of Vietnam include holding power over the State, with a focus on the ruling contents of the Party Central Committee, Politburo, Secretariat to the National Assembly, Government, People’s Supreme Court, People’s Supreme Procuracy, Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, the central executive committees of the socio-political organizations, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Public Security, the ruling contents of the local Party executive committees over the People’s Council, Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, executive committees of the socio-political organizations, military agencies, and the police agencies at the same level. These contents have been clearly identified both in terms of specific authority and responsibility of each subject, to each object, at each level, in each field, and in each period.

3. The relation between ruling contents and leadership contents of the Party

The ruling and leadership of the Party have certain similarities and differences

in contents.

The similarities: the ruling and leadership of the Party mean the work and activities that it must carry out and affect upon organizations and society in order to operate in the best way to lead the State and society led by the Party itself.

The leadership and ruling of the Party have cohesion and interference: when there is a government, the Party’s leadership contents are implemented and expressed mainly in the ruling contents of the Party. The Party’s leadership activities include the ruling contents and the leadership contents over the whole country, especially in the fields of politics, economics, defense, security, and external relations, as well as the Party’s ruling contents. On the contrary, the Party’s ruling is guaranteed for the implementation of the Party’s leadership. Only when the ruling Party successfully implements the ruling contents can it implement the Party’s leadership contents well. The Party-led State contents are also the power-ruling contents of the Party over the State. The Party-led contents include the Party’s proposition for a general political program, strategy, and path for the development of the country. The Party’s ruling contents over the State promote the role and position of the Party to affect and direct the State to institutionalize and concretize programs, strategies, and the Party’s guidelines into law, policies, programs, plans and implementation. The fact that the Party leads the elective agencies to select staff and members to hold the key leadership and management positions of the state agencies is both the leadership and ruling contents of the Party - the Party takes advantage of the majority of the representatives of the National Assembly and People’s Councils who are Party members to implement the election successfully.

The differences: the ruling contents of the ruling Party mean the activities and works the ruling Party is able to and needs to do with the status, authority, and responsibility given to it according to the regulations of the Constitution and law through the State in order to implement the leadership contents of the Party. In general, the ruling contents of the Party belong to the law category. Meanwhile, the leadership contents of the Party are the activities to lead, guide, direct, encourage, and organize forces to successfully implement the goals of the Party and develop the country, as well as coordinate all aspects in social relations. Overall, the leadership of the Party belongs to the political category.

The Party’s leadership contents are expressed most evidently in the proposal of the political program and correct course for the country’s development through communicating, convincing, and mobilizing the organizations and society in order to understand, agree, and eagerly implement the Party’s course and guidelines successfully. Organizing coordination between organizations and forces through the process of implementing, inspecting and supervising the Party’s course and guideline is also important. Accordingly, political nature is the dominant feature of the Party’s leadership contents. Meanwhile, the Party’s ruling contents are the works and activities the Party is able to, and needs to do in the given framework according to the requirements of the Constitution and law, which express both the authority and responsibility of the Party. Subsequently, the ruling contents of the Party are lawful. Article 4 of the 2013 Constitution not only affirms that the Communist Party of Vietnam is the leader of the State and society but also stipulates its responsibilities, which include being close to the people, serving the people, being under the supervision of the people, and taking responsibility before people for its decisions(1). The operating scope of the Party that the organizations and its members work within is the Constitution and law(2). Mentioning power and responsibilities implies a legal aspect; the Party is given power by the Constitution and law, and the Party must take responsibility simultaneously for operations before the people and law. As a result, the ruling contents of the Party are limited in the authorities and responsibilities defined in the Constitution and law.

Concerning the leadership of the Party, the first content is that the Party proposes programs, strategies and resolutions. This work is within the Party although State agencies, social organizations, and people can participate in this activity at different levels and in different forms. The ruling contents of the Party take effect when the Party has a program, strategy, and resolution. The Party uses the program, strategy, and resolution to affect the State and society and uses its power to have these documents institutionalized and concretized into law, policies, programs, and plans of the State. State agencies organize directly the respective implementation.

It should be also noted that the leadership contents of the Party are not only related to the State and society but also include the leadership contents within the Party itself. The leadership contents affect all Party organizations and members in all fields including politics, ideology, organization, staff, inspection, supervision, internal political protection, and morality in accordance with the Party Charter and regulations. These contents are internal. Although State agencies, the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, armed forces, public non-productive units, and state enterprises have Party organizations and members, the Party’s leadership contents over the members in those agencies and organizations are not consistent with the ruling contents over those agencies and organizations. For example, the Party only inspects and supervises the members working in state agencies, the Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations rather than the organizations themselves.

The differentiation between the ruling and leadership contents of the Party is necessary to avoid the situations in which the Party’s leadership contents are imposed on its ruling contents. The differentiation is also necessary to avoid the leadership contents not strictly following the Constitution and law, and the Party making excuses, taking on and intervening illegally in the tasks related to the functions and authorities of other organizations and agencies, especially the State.

On the other hand, the differences should not and cannot be separated and absolutized, and the leadership and ruling contents of the Party cannot be opposed, especially in a monistic political institution such as the ruling Party in Vietnam today.

_______________________

Endnotes:

(1), (2) Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nhan Dan (People) newspaper, December 10th, 2013, p.1, 1.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Tran Khac Viet

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

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