Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 14:49 (GMT+7)

Saturday, June 12, 2021, 11:50 (GMT+7)
Elections in Vietnam are democratic and progressive

On May 23, 2021, voters nationwide participated in the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 term (herein after the elections). This is a strong answer, refuting the distorting rhetoric about democracy and progress of elections in Vietnam that some people try to make to serve their dark political intrigues.

Democracy is an important and permanent goal of Vietnam's revolution, in which the entire state power belongs to the people, and is directly exercised by the people through a representative body elected by the people. Just like the previous elections, upholding citizen responsibility, voters across the country lay their faith in the ballot to elect the more deserving deputies among the deserving ones to the central and local legislative organs. The success of the elections once again affirms that elections in Vietnam are extremely democratic and progressive. That democracy and progress is reflected in the following aspects:

First of all, the purpose of election in Vietnam is to build a socialist rule of law state of the people, by the people and for the people - the consistent view of our Party and State throughout the revolutionary cause. The rule of law state in Vietnam is a socialist one of the people, by the people and for the people. Therefore, people exercise their mastery through the electorate ballot to elect state and local authorities: “The general election is an occasion for the entire nation to freely choose those who are talented and virtuous to shoulder the country's responsibilities... Through the general election, the entire people elect the National Assembly. The National Assembly will establish the Government. That government will truly be the Government of the people”. The first general election was held on January 6, 1946, marking the great leap forward in our nation's development in terms of a democratic institution following the progressive development trend of human history.

Since then, despite many difficulties and harsh historical circumstances, our Party and State have persisted in implementing the democratic electoral system to build a socialist rule of law state. To ensure people's democratic rights, our Constitution clearly stipulates that every voter has the right to vote, nominate and dismiss deputies of the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels. Our Party always adheres to the policy of leading and directing the elections of deputies to the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels in a democratic, open and transparent manner, and to select virtuous, talented and capable people to take on the responsibilities assigned by the nation. Directive No. 45-CT/TW, dated June 20, 2020 of the Politburo on leadership of the Election requires that: “Resolutely not to nominate those who are unworthy, unqualified, especially those with low moral standards, corruption, and discredited". That resolute direction is aimed at "Building and perfecting a socialist rule of law state that is pure, strong, lean, effective and efficient, serving the people and for the development of the country”.

Voters cast their ballots (Photo: laodong.vn)

Secondly, elections in Vietnam are conducted on the basis of democracy and progress. Elections are an institution to ensure democracy, practice and implement democracy. The electoral process must be carried out based on basic principles which are specified by the electoral laws of each country. The Law on Election of deputies to the National Assembly and the People's Council of our country stipulates four principles of election, namely: "universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage".

Universal suffrage means all citizens regardless of ethnicity, male, female, social class, belief, religion, educational level, occupation, or duration of residency (except those who are insane or deprived of their suffrage by law), are entitled to vote when they are mature. Every citizen who resides permanently or temporarily shall be registered in the voter list and posted publicly at least 40 days before the date of the election. The list of candidates shall be made and posted publicly at least 20 days before the election day for voters to learn and choose.

Equality principle stipulates that: each voter has one vote for an election and the value of votes is the same regardless of gender, social status, ethnicity, religion, etc. Each voter may be registered on the voter list in only one place of residence; each candidate may only register his/her name in one constituency; each voter may cast only one vote. This principle also requires a reasonable allocation of structure, composition and number of delegates to ensure the appropriate ratio of representative of regions, localities, social classes, ethnic minorities, and women. As for the 14th National Assembly, there were 133 female delegates (accounting for 26.80%), 86 ethnic delegates (accounting for 17.30%); 21 non-party delegates (accounting for 4.20%); 02 self-nominating delegates; 15 candidates recommended by the Party Central Committee were not elected.

The direct principle expresses that: voters are not allowed to ask for another person to vote on their behalf, or vote by mail. Voters are required to cast their vote in the ballot box by themselves. In case voters cannot write their own ballots, they may ask others to write for them, but they must vote themselves; those who write for the voter must ensure the confidentiality of the voter's vote. If the voter is unable to cast his/her own vote because of their disability, he/she may ask someone else to vote in the ballot box. In case a voter is sick, old, or disabled, he or she cannot go to the polling place, the election team will bring an extra ballot box and ballot to the voter's residence so that voter can receive his ballot and conduct the vote.

The secret ballot principle is to ensure objectivity in the choice of voters. Their votes are guaranteed secrecy. When voters write on the ballots, no one can approach, including people in charge of the elections; no one should know and interfere in the writing ballot of the voters. Voters write their ballots in a closed booth and cast their ballots in the ballot box.

The above four principles clearly show the democracy and progress of the electoral system that Vietnam is exercising. To ensure that these principles are implemented, the State has concretised them into different laws. All elections in Vietnam are strictly implemented in accordance with those laws.

Thirdly, closely lead, direct and promote the strength of the whole political system and the entire people in conducting personnel work for the election. Personnel work is to ensure the promotion of democracy and the centralised and unified leadership of the Party in cadre work. The Party leads the introduction of cadres and party members in agencies, organisations, and units to be nominated for the election to the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels. Those who are introduced all meet the standards, are really typical in terms of qualities, ethics and capabilities; have strong political views and stances; and have conditions to perform the tasks of National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels.

In this election, the Party, State and the National Assembly Standing Committee have issued many regulations to improve the quality of candidates for the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels. Along with that, the implementation of the five-step process of consultation and nomination of candidates also helps the personnel work to be conducted carefully with the participation of the entire people and political system. That process clearly shows that democracy and elections are closely linked, and elections are free and honest for a more perfected and developed democracy.

Finally, the election of deputies to the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels was enthusiastically responded by all classes of people, truly being a festival of the whole society. Although the first general election (January 6, 1946) was held in extremely difficult conditions with "both internal and external enemies ", the vast majority of people were so moved and proud to participate in the election because it was "...the first day in the history of Vietnam when our people enjoyed their democratic rights", selected elite delegates to the highest state power agency, the highest representative body of the people. In the actual operation of the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels, delegates have always promoted their role as representatives for the will and aspirations of the people, and performed well their legislative and supervisory functions, deciding important national issues. In particular, the Q&R sessions on the National Assembly agenda over the past time have always attracted the attention of a large number of people in the country, because of their lively, concise, and frank atmosphere. Those are really enthusiastic and intellectual voices, representing the power of the people. At the same time, it is an affirmative proof that the National Assembly of Vietnam has always been the embodiment of the great national unity bloc of the people, by the people, and for the people; the highest representative body of the State power and the people; closely linked and acted responsibly for the voters, always represented the will and aspirations of the people.

Therefore, in each election, people from all walks of life are excited, confident, and freely do their obligations, responsibilities and exercise their mastery through the ballots. And the election day has become the festive day of the whole Vietnamese people. It is a living proof that affirms democracy and progress of elections in Vietnam.

Doctor NGUYEN MINH CUONG, Political Officers School

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