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Politics of Vietnam


Politics of Vietnam

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The politics of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are defined by a single-party socialist republic framework, where the President of Vietnam is the head of state and the Prime Minister of Vietnam is the head of government, in a one-party system led by the Communist Party of Vietnam. Executive power is exercised by the government and the President of Vietnam. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Quoc hoi). The Judiciary is independent of the executive. The parliament adopted the current Constitution of Vietnam; its fourth, on 15 April 1992, and it has been amended once since then.

The President of the Socialist Republic (Chủ tịch nước Cộng hoà xã hội chủ nghĩa) is elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term and acts as the government budget; supervising the Government of Vietnam and other holders of public powers responsible to the National Assembly; and appointing members of the judiciary. The Vietnamese constitution and legislation provide for regular elections for the office of the President of the Socialist Republic, the National Assembly and the People's Councils.

Vietnam has, officially at least, an independent judicial system governed by the Constitution of Vietnam and national legislation enacted by National Assembly. The Supreme People's Court (Tòa án Nhân dân Tối cao) is the highest court of appeal in Vietnam. There are other specialised courts in Vietnam, including the Central Military Court, the Criminal Court, the Civil Court and the Appeal Court. The Supreme People's Procuracy observes the implementation of state organs and makes sure that Vietnamese citizens follow the law.


  • Legal framework 1
  • State ideology 2
  • The Party 3
    • Congress 3.1
    • Central Committee 3.2
  • Vietnamese Fatherland Front 4
  • Executive 5
  • Legislative 6
  • Elections 7
    • Latest parliamentary election 7.1
    • Latest presidential election 7.2
  • Judiciary 8
  • Local government 9
    • List of provinces 9.1
  • References 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • External links 12

Legal framework

Vietnam is a legal system is based upon socialist legality according to Article 12 of the constitution.[3]

State ideology

Vietnam is a socialist republic with a one-party system led by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). The CPV espouses Marxism–Leninism and Hồ Chí Minh Thought, the thoughts of the late Hồ Chí Minh. The two ideologies function as a firm ideological basis and serve as guidance for the activities of the Party and state.[2] According to the Constitution, Vietnam is "in the period of transition to socialism".[1] Marxism–Leninism was introduced to Vietnam in the 1920s and 1930s, and Vietnamese culture has been led under the banner of patriotism and Marxism–Leninism.[4] Hồ Chí Minh's beliefs were not systematised during his life, nor quickly following his death. Trường Chinh's biography of "Chairman Hồ" in 1973 emphasised his revolutionary policies. The thoughts of Hồ Chí Minh were systematised in 1989, under the leadership of Nguyễn Văn Linh.[5] Hồ Chí Minh Thought, alongside Marxism–Leninism, became the official ideology of the CPV and the state in 1991.[6] The CPV's claim to legitimacy was retained following the collapse of communism in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 by its commitment to the thoughts of Hồ Chí Minh, according to Sophie Quinn-Judge.[7] According to Pierre Brocheux, the author of Ho Chi Minh: a Biography, the current state ideology is Hồ Chí Minh Thought, with Marxism–Leninism playing a secondary role.[8] While some claim that Hồ Chí Minh Thought is used as a veil for the Party leadership since they, according to this version, have stopped believing in communism, however this is false when considering that Hồ Chí Minh was an avid supporter of Vladimir Lenin and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Others see Hồ Chí Minh Thought as a political umbrella term whose main function is to smuggle in non-socialist ideas and policies without challenging socialist legality.[6]

Since its foundation, the key ideology has been Marxism–Leninism, but since the introduction of a mixed economy in the late 1980s and 1990s, it has lost its monopolistic ideological and moral legitimacy.[9] Marxism–Leninism, which is a class-based ideology, lost its legitimacy because of the mixed economy. As became clear because of the Đổi Mới reforms, the Party could not base its rule on defending only the workers and the peasants, which was officially referred to as the "working class-peasant alliance".[10] In the constitution introduced in 1992, the State represented the "workers, peasants and intellectuals".[9] In recent years, the Party has stopped representing a specific class, but instead the "interests of the entire people", which includes entrepreneurs.[9] The final class barrier was removed in 2002, when party members were allowed to engage in private activities. In the face of de-emphasising the role of Marxism–Leninism, the Party has acquired a broader ideology, laying more emphasis on nationalism, developmentalism and becoming the protector of tradition.[11]

The Party

The flag of the Communist Party

According to the official version, the Communist Party of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam) is leading the Vietnamese people "in carrying out the country's renovation, modernisation and industrialisation."[2] According to the Party's statute, amended at the 9th National Congress on 22 April 2001, the CPV was "established and trained by President Hồ Chí Minh, has led the Vietnamese people to carry out successfully the August Revolution, establishing the Democratic Republic of Việt Nam, now the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam, to defeat foreign invaders, to abolish the colonial and feudalist regime, to liberate and reunify the country, and then carry out the cause of renovation and socialist construction and firmly defend national independence."[2] It believes in socialist internationalism of the working class, and supports the "struggle for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress of the world's people."[2] The CPV acts as the vanguard of the working people and the whole nation by representing their interests. Its aim is to create "a strong, independent, prosperous and democratic country with an equitable and civilized society, to realise socialism and ultimately, communism." The Party's ideological foundation is Marxism–Leninism and Hồ Chí Minh Thoughts. These ideologies guide the activities of the Party, while promoting "the nation's traditions, and absorbing other nations' essential ideas."[2]

The CPV is organised on the principles of [2]


The National Congress is the party's highest organ.[12] The direction of the Party and the Government is decided at the National Congress, held every fifth year. The Central Committee is elected by the National Congress.[13] Delegates vote on policies and candidates posts within the central party leadership. Following ratification of the decisions taken at the National Congress, the National Congress dissolves itself. The Central Committee, which is elected by the National Congress every fifth year, implements the decisions of the National Congress in the five-year period. Since the Central Committee only meets twice a year, the Politburo implements the policies of the National Congress.[12]

Central Committee

Communist Party billboard marking the 30th Anniversary of the reunification of the country in 1975.

The Central Committee (CC) is the CPV's most powerful institution.[14] It delegates some of its powers to the Secretariat and the Politburo when it is not in session.[15] When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Vietnamese leadership, led by Lê Duẩn, began to centralise power. This policy continued until the 6th National Congress, when Nguyễn Văn Linh took power. Linh pursued a policy of economic and political decentralisation.[16] The party and state bureaucracy opposed Linh's reform initiatives; because of this, Linh tried to win the support of provincial leaders. This caused the powers of the provincial chapters of the CPV to increase in the 1990s. The CPV lost its power to appoint or dismiss provincial-level officials in the 1990s; this is proven by the fact that Võ Văn Kiệt tried to wrestle this power back to the centre during the 1990s without success. These developments led to the provincialisation of the Central Committee; for example, more and more CC members have a background in provincial party work. Because of these changes, power in Vietnam has become increasingly devolved.[17] The number of Central Committee members with a provincial background increased from a low of 15.6 percent in 1982 to a high of 41 percent in 2001. The current President of the Socialist Republic, Trương Tấn Sang, was directly elected from the provinces at the 8th Party Congress, held 1996.[18] Because of the devolution of power, the powers of the Central Committee have increased substantially; for instance, when a two-thirds majority of the Politburo voted in favour of retaining Lê Khả Phiêu as General Secretary (the leader of Vietnam), the Central Committee voted against the Politburo's motion and voted unanimously in favour of removing Lê Khả Phiêu from his post of General Secretary.[19] The Central Committee did this because the majority of its members were of provincial background, or were working in the provinces; because of this, these members were the first to feel the pinch when the economy began to stagnate during Lê Khả Phiêu's rule.[20]

The Central Committee elects the Politburo in the aftermath of the Party Congress. Since the full Central Committee meets only once a year, the Politburo functions as the Party's leading collective decision-making body.[21] The Secretariat is also elected by the Central Committee, and is headed by the General Secretary. It is responsible for solving organisational problems and implementing the demands of the Central Committee. The Secretariat oversees the work of the Departments of the Central Committee.[22]

Vietnamese Fatherland Front

The General Confederation of Labour, the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union and the Veteran Association, among others.[25]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Chairman of the Central Committee Huỳnh Đảm Communist Party 9 January 2008
Deputy Chairman of the Central Committee Vũ Trọng Kim Communist Party 9 January 2008
General Secretary of the Central Committee Communist Party 9 January 2008


The President of the Republic (Vietnamese: Chủ tịch nước Việt Nam) is the head of state, elected to a five-year term by the National Assembly, and is not limited by the Constitution to a maximum tenure.[26] In addition to being the Chairman of the Council for Defence and Security and commander-in-chief of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces, the president has the procedural duty of appointing or proposing the appointment or dismissal of the Vice Presidents, Prime Minister, Deputy Chief Judge of the Supreme People's Court and Head of the Supreme People's Procuracy,[2] with the consent of the National Assembly through a simple majority vote. The President has some influence on foreign policy, and has the right to declare a state of emergency and to declare war.[27] The most recent presidential elections were held on 25 July 2011, when Trương Tấn Sang, the incumbent, was re-elected by the deputies (members) of the National Assembly.[28]

The government (Vietnamese: Chính phủ) is the executive arm of the National Assembly and the highest administrative body of the Vietnamese state. It is headed by the prime minister, and consists of deputy prime ministers, ministers and other members. The government is a unified administration responsible for the implementation of political, economic, cultural, social, national defence, security and external activities of the state. It is also responsible for the effectiveness of the state apparatus itself from the top down, stabilisation in the country and the observance of the constitution.[29] As with the President, the government is elected by the deputies of the National Assembly for a five-year term.[30] The Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic is elected or dismissed by the National Assembly, at the request of the president.[2] Since 27 June 2006, the prime minister of the government has been Nguyễn Tấn Dũng.[31]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Trương Tấn Sang Communist Party 25 July 2011
Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng Communist Party 27 June 2006


The National Assembly convened at the Ba Đình Hall until 2007, when the building was demolished


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

  • Active Citizens under Political Wraps: Experiences from Myanmar/Burma and Vietnam pub. by the Heinrich Böll Vietnam Government Foundation, Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 2006, pp 201
  • VUFO-NGO, Directory of Vietnam government ministry and agency websites

External links

  • Ashwill, Mark; Thai, Ngoc Diep (2005). Vietnam Today: A Guide To A Nation At A Crossroads. Intercultural Press.  
  • Brocheux, Pierre (2007). Ho Chi Minh: a Biography. Cambridge University Press.  
  • East, Roger; Thomas, Richard (2003). Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders. Routledge.  
  • Gillespie, John Stanley (2006). Transplanting Commercial Law Reform: Developing a 'Rule of Law' in Vietnam. Ashgate Publishing.  
  • Hasan, Samiul; Onyx, Jenny (2008). Comparative Third Sector Governance in Asia: Structure, Process, and Political Economy. Springer.  
  • Napier, Nancy K.; Vuong, Quan Hoang (2013). What We See, Why We Worry, Why We Hope: Vietnam Going Forward. Boise State University CCI Press.  
  • Quinn-Judge, Sophie (2002). Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years, 1919–1941. University of California Press.  
  • Rowley, Chris (2008). The Changing Face of Management in South East Asia. Taylor & Francis.  
  • Van, Canh Nguyen; Cooper, Earle (1983). Vietnam under Communism, 1975–1982. Hoover Press.  


  1. ^ a b c "Preamble of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Political system".  
  3. ^ "Article 12 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  4. ^ "Vietnam culture overview".  
  5. ^ Quinn-Judge 2002, p. 2.
  6. ^ a b Gillespie 2006, p. 90.
  7. ^ Quinn-Judge 2002, p. 256.
  8. ^ Brocheux 2007, p. 186.
  9. ^ a b c Gillespie 2006, p. 91.
  10. ^ Gillespie 2006, p. 92.
  11. ^ Gillespie 2006, pp. 91–92.
  12. ^ a b Van & Cooper 1983, p. 56.
  13. ^ Ashwill & Thai 2005, p. 47.
  14. ^ East & Thomas 2003, p. 574.
  15. ^ Rowley 2008, p. 187.
  16. ^ Abuza, Zachary (16 November 2001). "The Lessons of Le Kha Phieu: Changing Rules in Vietnamese politics". Vietnamese Professionals of America.  
  17. ^ Abuza, Zachary (16 November 2001). "The Lessons of Le Kha Phieu: Changing Rules in Vietnamese politics". Vietnamese Professionals of America.  
  18. ^ Abuza, Zachary (16 November 2001). "The Lessons of Le Kha Phieu: Changing Rules in Vietnamese politics". Vietnamese Professionals of America.  
  19. ^ Abuza, Zachary (16 November 2001). "The Lessons of Le Kha Phieu: Changing Rules in Vietnamese politics". Vietnamese Professionals of America.  
  20. ^ Abuza, Zachary (16 November 2001). "The Lessons of Le Kha Phieu: Changing Rules in Vietnamese politics". Vietnamese Professionals of America.  
  21. ^ Van & Cooper 1983, p. 69.
  22. ^ Porter 1993, pp. 66–67.
  23. ^ "Nguyen Phu Trong elected Party General Secretary".  
  24. ^ a b Hasan & Onyx 2008, p. 42.
  25. ^ Staff writer. "TIN HOẠT ĐỘNG CỦA CÁC TỔ CHỨC THÀNH VIÊN" [Activities of member organisations] (in Vietnamese).  
  26. ^ "Article 102 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  27. ^ "Article 103 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  28. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2011). "Truong Tan Sang elected Vietnamese state president".  
  29. ^ "Article 110 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  30. ^ "Article 113 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  31. ^  
  32. ^ a b "Article 6 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  33. ^ "Article 83 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  34. ^ "Article 7 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  35. ^ a b "Article 85 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  36. ^ "Article 90 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  37. ^ "Standing Committee".  
  38. ^ "Committees".  
  39. ^ "Ethnic council".  
  40. ^ "Election".  
  41. ^ Timberlake, Ian (21 May 2011). "One-party Vietnam votes in national election".  
  42. ^ "Election results for NA and People's Council deputies announced".  
  43. ^ Ruwitch, John (4 June 2011). "Party wins big in Vietnam, but with a few twists". Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  44. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2011). "Truong Tan Sang nominated as Vietnam's State President".  
  45. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2011). "National Assembly elects new State President". Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  46. ^ Yang, Lina (25 July 2011). "Truong Tan Sang elected Vietnamese state president".  
  47. ^ Staff writer (25 July 2011). "Truong Tan Sang elected Vietnamese state president".  
  48. ^ "Election results for NA and People’s Council deputies announced".  
  49. ^ a b "Country Profile: Vietnam".  
  50. ^ a b "Article 118 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  51. ^ "Article 119 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  52. ^ "Article 120 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  53. ^ "Article 121 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  54. ^ "Article 122 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  55. ^ "Article 123 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  56. ^ a b c "Article 124 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  57. ^ "Article 125 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".  
  58. ^ a b c d e "Report on completed census results: The 1/4/2009 Population and Housing Census". General Statistics Office of Vietnam.  


Province/City Capital Area (km²)
Density (/km²)
% Urban
Hà Nội (city) ----- 3,119.0 6,451,909 2,068.6 41.0 0.768 Red River Delta
Hà Giang Province Hà Giang 7,945.8 724,537 91.2 11.6 0.600 Northeastern
Cao Bằng Province Cao Bằng 6,724.6 507,183 75.4 16.9 0.527 Northeastern
Bắc Kạn Province Bắc Kạn 4,868.4 293,826 60.4 16.1 0.602 Northeastern
Tuyên Quang Province Tuyên Quang 5,870.4 724,821 123.5 13.0 0.664 Northeastern
Lào Cai Province Lào Cai 6,383.9 614,595 96.3 21.0 0.665 Northeastern
Điện Biên Province Điện Biên Phủ 9,562.5 490,306 51.3 15.0 0.545 Northwest
Lai Châu Province Lai Châu 9,112.3 370,502 40.7 14.2 0.542 Northwest
Sơn La Province Sơn La 14,174.4 1,076,055 75.9 13.8 0.497 Northwest
Yên Bái Province Yên Bái 6,899.5 740,397 107.3 18.8 0.533 Northeastern
Hòa Bình Province Hòa Bình 4,684.2 785,217 167.6 15.0 0.595 Northwest
Thái Nguyên Province Thái Nguyên 3,546.6 1,123,116 316.7 25.6 0.656 Northeastern
Lạng Sơn Province Lạng Sơn 8,331.2 732,515 87.9 19.2 0.648 Northeastern
Quảng Ninh Province Hạ Long 6,099.0 1,144,988 187.7 51.9 0.668 Northeastern
Bắc Giang Province Bắc Giang 3,827.4 1,554,131 406.1 9.4 0.602 Northeastern
Phú Thọ Province Việt Trì 3,528.4 1,316,389 373.1 15.8 0.513 Northeastern
Vĩnh Phúc Province Vĩnh Yên 1,373.2 999,786 728.1 22.4 0.523 Red River Delta
Bắc Ninh Province Bắc Ninh 823.1 1,024,472 1,244.7 23.5 0.484 Red River Delta
Hải Dương Province Hải Dương 1,652.8 1,705,059 1,031.6 19.0 0.502 Red River Delta
Hải Phòng (city) ----- 1,520.7 1,837,173 1,208.1 46.1 0.595 Red River Delta
Hưng Yên Province Hưng Yên 923.5 1,127,903 1,221.3 12.1 0.501 Red River Delta
Thái Bình Province Thái Bình 1,546.5 1,781,842 1,152.1 9.7 0.585 Red River Delta
Hà Nam Province Phủ Lý 859.7 784,045 912.0 9.5 0.499 Red River Delta
Nam Định Province Nam Định 1,650.8 1,828,111 1,107.4 17.6 0.539 Red River Delta
Ninh Bình Province Ninh Bình 1,392.4 898,999 645.6 17.9 0.601 Red River Delta
Thanh Hóa Province Thanh Hóa 11,136.3 3,400,595 305.4 10.4 0.579 North Central Coast
Nghệ An Province Vinh 16,498.5 2,912,041 176.5 12.9 0.547 North Central Coast
Hà Tĩnh Province Hà Tĩnh 6,026.5 1,227,038 203.6 14.9 0.543 North Central Coast
Quảng Bình Province Đồng Hới 8,065.3 844,893 104.8 15.0 0.553 North Central Coast
Quảng Trị Province Đông Hà 4,760.1 598,324 125.7 27.4 0.529 North Central Coast
Thừa Thiên–Huế Province Huế 5,065.3 1,087,420 214.7 36.0 0.565 North Central Coast
Đà Nẵng (city) ----- 1,257.3 887,435 705.8 86.9 0.689 South Central Coast
Quảng Nam Province Tam Kỳ 10,438.3 1,422,319 136.3 18.6 0.548 South Central Coast
Quảng Ngãi Province Quảng Ngãi 5,152.7 1,216,773 236.1 14.6 0.618 South Central Coast
Bình Định Province Qui Nhơn 6,039.6 1,486,465 246.1 27.7 0.591 South Central Coast
Phú Yên Province Tuy Hòa 5,060.6 862,231 170.4 21.8 0.594 South Central Coast
Khánh Hòa Province Nha Trang 5,217.6 1,157,604 221.9 39.9 0.555 South Central Coast
Ninh Thuận Province Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm 3,363.1 564,993 168.0 36.1 0.556 Southeast
Bình Thuận Province Phan Thiết 7,836.9 1,167,023 148.9 39.3 0.637 Southeast
Kon Tum Province Kon Tum 9,690.5 430,133 44.4 33.5 0.593 Central Highlands
Gia Lai Province Pleiku 15,536.9 1,274,412 82.0 28.6 0.697 Central Highlands
Đắk Lắk Province Buôn Ma Thuột 13,139.2 1,733,624 131.9 24.0 0.596 Central Highlands
Đắk Nông Province Gia Nghĩa 6,516.9 489,382 75.1 14.7 0.563 Central Highlands
Lâm Đồng Province Đà Lạt 9,776.1 1,187,574 121.5 37.8 0.545 Central Highlands
Bình Phước Province Đồng Xoài 6,883.4 873,598 126.9 16.5 0.665 Southeast
Tây Ninh Province Tây Ninh 4,035.9 1,066,513 264.3 15.6 0.537 Southeast
Bình Dương Province Thủ Dầu Một 2,696.2 1,481,550 549.5 29.9 0.643 Southeast
Đồng Nai Province Biên Hòa 5,903.9 2,486,154 421.1 33.2 0.489 Southeast
Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province Vũng Tàu 1,989.6 996,682 500.9 49.9 0.700 Southeast
Hồ Chí Minh (city) ----- 2,297.6 7,162,864 3,528.9 83.3 0.798 Southeast
Long An Province Tân An 4,493.8 1,436,066 319.6 17.4 0.435 Mekong Delta
Tiền Giang Province Mỹ Tho 2,484.2 1,672,271 673.2 13.7 0.811 Mekong Delta
Bến Tre Province Bến Tre 2,360.2 1,255,946 532.1 9.9 0.607 Mekong Delta
Trà Vinh Province Trà Vinh 2,295.1 1,003,012 437.0 15.3 0.676 Mekong Delta
Vĩnh Long Province Vĩnh Long 1,479.1 1,024,707 692.8 15.3 0.503 Mekong Delta
Đồng Tháp Province Cao Lãnh 3,376.4 1,666,467 493.9 17.8 0.483 Mekong Delta
An Giang Province Long Xuyên 3,536.8 2,142,709 605.8 28.4 0.596 Mekong Delta
Kiên Giang Province Rạch Giá 6,348.3 1,688,248 265.9 27.0 0.708 Mekong Delta
Cần Thơ (city) ----- 1,401.6 1,188,435 847.9 65.9 0.389 Mekong Delta
Hậu Giang Province Vị Thanh 1,601.1 757,300 473.0 19.6 0.666 Mekong Delta
Sóc Trăng Province Sóc Trăng 3,312.3 1,292,853 390.3 19.4 0.554 Mekong Delta
Bạc Liêu Province Bạc Liêu 2,584.1 856,518 331.5 26.1 0.586 Mekong Delta
Cà Mau Province Cà Mau 5,331.7 1,206,938 226.4 20.4 0.494 Mekong Delta

List of provinces

In the provinces, the People's Council is the "local organ of State power", and it represents the "aspirations, and mastery of the people". The People's Council is democratically elected, and is accountable to the people and to superior organs of the state.[51] It must pass resolutions which are formal orders of superior organs of state, and it acts on behalf of the constitution. The People's Council decides the plans for socio-economic development, decides the budget and is responsible for national defence and security at the local level.[52] The deputy (member) of the People's Council acts on the behalf of the people,[53] and has the right to make proposals to the People's Council and other local State organs. In turn, officials of these local organs have the responsibility to receive and to examine them.[54] The People's Council have to elect a People's Committee, the executive organ of the People's Council. It is the People's Committee which has the responsibility to implement "the Constitution, the law, the formal written orders of superior State organs and the resolutions of the People's Council."[55] The People's Committee is headed by a Chairman, who acts as the body's leader. All decisions of the People's Committee are taken through a collegial decision-making process, and have to "conform to the will of the majority."[56] The chairman has the power to annul decisions of lower standing organs.[56] Local officials of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, its local head, and officials from other mass organisations in the locality have the right to attend the meetings of the People's Council and the People's Committee if relevant problems are discussed.[56] According to Article 125 of the constitution, "The People's Council and the People's Committee shall make regular reports on the local situation in all fields to the Fatherland Front and the mass organisations; shall listen to their opinions and proposals on local power building and socio-economic development; shall cooperate with them in urging the people to work together with the State for the implementation of socio-economic, national-defence, and security tasks in the locality."[57]

Provinces and municipalities are subdivided into towns, districts and villages. Provinces and municipalities are centrally controlled by the national government. Towns, districts and villages are locally accountable to some degree through elected people's councils.[49] Certain cities and provinces are under direct control of the central government. The provinces are divided into districts, provincial cities and towns; cities under direct rule are divided into towns, urban and rural districts. In turn, the district is divided into communes and townlets. In the words of Article 118 of the Constitution, the "provincial city and the town are divided into wards and communes; the urban district is divided into wards."[50] The establishment of People's Council and People's Committees is determined by law.[50]

Local government

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court Trương Hòa Bình Communist Party 25 July 2007
Director of the Supreme People's Prosecutor Nguyễn Hòa Bình Communist Party 11 August 2011

The SPC is the highest court for appeal and review, and it reports to the National Assembly, which controls the judiciary's budget and confirms the president's nominees to the SPC and SPP. The SPP issues arrest warrants, sometimes retroactively. Below the SPC are district and provincial people's courts, military tribunals, and administrative, economic and labor courts. The people's courts are the courts of first instance. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has military tribunals, which have the same rules as civil courts. Military judges and assessors are selected by the MOD and the SPC, but the SPC has supervisory responsibility. Although the constitution provides for independent judges and lay assessors (who lack administrative training), the United States Department of State maintains that Vietnam lacks an independent judiciary, in part because the Communist Party selects judges and vets them for political reliability. Moreover, the party seeks to influence the outcome of cases involving perceived threats to the state or the party's dominant position. In an effort to increase judicial independence, the government transferred local courts from the Ministry of Justice to the SPC in September 2002. However, the Department of State saw no evidence that the move actually achieved the stated goal. Vietnam's judiciary is also hampered by a shortage of lawyers and by rudimentary trial procedures. The death penalty often is imposed in cases of corruption and drug trafficking.[49]

[2] The

The Vietnamese judicial system is based upon Supreme People's Court (SPC). The composition of the SCP includes the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Judge, jurors and court secretaries. The structure of the SCP (from the top down) is as follows: Council of Judges, Commission of Judges, Central Military Court, Criminal Court, Civil Court, Appeal Court, and assisting staff. The Chief Judge of the SCP is elected by the National Assembly, while the President of the Socialist Republic has the power to nominate and dismiss the Deputy Chief Judge and judges at the Chief Judge's request. The Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front introduces People's Jurors, which are in turn appointed by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly. According to the Government Web Portal, the operating principles of the courts are, during hearings, that the "judges and jurors are independent and only obey the laws." Justice and democracy within the system is supposedly ensured because legal decision-making is an open process. Jurors play an essential role, and defenders have the right of defence and to hire a lawyer.[2]


Vietnamese presidential election, 2011
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 488 97.4
No 12 2.6
Total votes 500 100.00

Latest presidential election

  Summary of the 22 May 2011 National Assembly (Quoc hoi) election results
Parties and coalitions Seats +/–
Vietnamese Fatherland Front (Mặt Trận Tổ Quốc Việt Nam) Communist Party of Vietnam (Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam) 458 +8
Independent 38 -4
Independents 4 +3
Overall statistics
Total parliamentary seats 500 +7
Sources: Central Election Council[48]

Latest parliamentary election

Nguyễn Sinh Hùng, the Chairman of the National Assembly, nominated Trương Tấn Sang for the Presidency.[44] 487 deputies of the National Assembly,[45] meaning 97.4 percent, voted in favour of Trương Tấn Sang.[46] In his victory speech, Trương Tấn Sang said, "I pledge to improve my moral quality and study the example of the late President Hồ Chí Minh to cooperate with the government to bring Vietnam to become a fully industrialized country by 2015."[47]

The current 500 members of the National Assembly were elected during the 2011 parliamentary election, and they have a five-year term. Despite foreign criticism, it is generally believed that the National Assembly has become more powerful in recent years.[41] The last election was held, according to the authorities, in a democratic, fair, lawful and safe manner and was considered a success. Voter turnout was 99.51 percent; nearly 62 million people voted. In their respective constituencies, Nguyễn Phú Trọng, the General Secretary, was elected to the National Assembly with 85.63 percent of the votes, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng was elected with 95.38 percent and President Trương Tấn Sang was elected with 80.19 percent. Outside the ruling troika, it was Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the Chairman of the Government Office, who was elected with the highest margin, with 94.59 percent of the votes. The number of self-nominated candidates was four times higher than the previous election.[42] Fifteen out of the 182 candidates nominated by the central government and the central party leadership were defeated in the elections. Lê Thị Thu Ba, a member of the Party's Central Committee and Chairman of the Committee of Law during the 12th National Assembly (2007–2011), was not re-elected to the National Assembly. Several capitalists were elected to the assembly, but due to the socialist ideology of the state, they are not allowed to sit on the assembly's Committee on Economy and Budget.[43]

Article 6 of the Constitution states that "The people make use of state power through the agency of the National Assembly and the People's Councils, which represent the will and aspirations of the people, are elected by them and responsible to them".[32] Deputies (members) of the National Assembly are directly elected on a democratic basis through secret ballots. All citizens who are 18 or older, regardless of ethnic group, gender, social position, belief, religion, level of education, occupation or length of residency have the right to vote, the exceptions being the mentally disabled and those people who have been deprived of the right to vote by law. People aged 21 or older have the right to stand as a candidate at elections. Three election commissions have been established to manage elections; at the central level is the Election Council, at the provincial level and in centrally-run cities the Election Committee is responsible for election monitoring and the Election Commission is responsible for election monitoring at constituencies.[40]


Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Chairman Nguyễn Sinh Hùng Communist Party 23 July 2011
Deputy Chairman Tòng Thị Phóng Communist Party 23 July 2011
Deputy Chairman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân Communist Party 23 July 2011
Deputy Chairman Uông Chu Lưu Communist Party 23 July 2011
Deputy Chairman Huỳnh Ngọc Sơn Communist Party 23 July 2011
Chairman of the Ethnic Council Ksor Phước Communist Party 23 July 2011

There are seven committees of the National Assembly. Committee membership is determined by the National Assembly. They are responsible for the studying and examination of bills, legislative initiatives, drafts of ordinances and other drafts of legal documents and reports assigned by the National Assembly or the Standing Committee. The committees provide the National Assembly and its Standing Committee with their opinions on the legislative programme. The committees supervise and conduct investigations within their respective competency and exercise powers which are stipulated by law.[38] The National Assembly elects the Ethnic Council, which consists of a Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and other members. The Ethnic Council studies and recommends actions to the National Assembly; the National Assembly has to consult with the Ethnic Council before issuing any decisions on ethnic policy. The Chairman of the Ethnic Council has to attend meetings of the Government which concern ethnic policy. The powers of the Ethnic Council are comparable to those of the committees.[39]

The membership of the Standing Committee consists of the chairman, deputy chairmen and other members; these members are elected by the National Assembly.[36] Standing Committee members cannot simultaneously be members of the Government. Members work on a full-time basis, and their terms of office correspond with the term of the National Assembly. The Standing Committee continues to function until a new National Assembly is elected. According to the constitution, the Standing Committee is responsible for 12 duties. Of these, the most important are the powers to announce, convene and chair the National Assembly sessions, to interpret the constitution, laws and ordinances, and to issue ordinances on those matters assigned by the National Assembly. It supervises and guides the People's Councils and their activities, and directs, regulates and coordinates the activities of the Ethnic Council and the committees of the National Assembly.[37]

[2] represents it between sessions.Standing Committee and its [35] The National Assembly is convened twice a year,[35] which are held every fifth year.[34] in democratic electionssecret ballots Deputies (members) of the National Assembly are elected through [33]

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