With the Declaration of Independence on September 2nd 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the first independent republic in Southeast Asia, was born. On January 6, 1946, the first universal suffrage general election was held to elect the National Assembly, the supreme organ of power of the new Vietnam.
In November 1946, the National Assembly adopted the first Constitution of the Republic. The Constitution clearly pointed out that Vietnam is an indivisible and monolithic bloc; it is a democratic republic; power belongs to the whole Vietnamese people irrespective of race, gender, property, social class and religion.
After the complete liberation of South Vietnam on April 30th, 1975, the second universal suffrage general elections were held to reunify the country and choose the All-Vietnam National Assembly. On July 2nd, 1976, Vietnam was renamed the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
According to the Constitution, the National Assembly is the highest representative organ, the People’s Supreme Authority, the legislative branch that shall be elected every five years in accordance with the principle of universal, equal, direct and secret ballot. The National Assembly’s 450 members elect a Chairman and members of its Standing Committee. The full body meets at least twice a year at the convocation of its Standing Committee.
The National Assembly elects the President of the State, the Prime Minister, the Chief Procurator of the Supreme People’s Court and the Chief Procurator of the Supreme People’s Office of Supervision and Control. The President of State serves as Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, representing Vietnam in domestic and foreign affairs. The Prime Minister heads the Cabinet that oversees the running of the Government, the executive organ.
Localities elect People’s Councils at different levels- province, town, city, district, ward, and commune- in accordance with universal suffrage. The People’s Council elects local executive bodies and People’s Committees of different levels. There are also People’s Courts and People’s Procuraries at provincial and district levels.
Article 4 of the Constitution stipulates the leading role of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam convenes every 5 years to outline the overall direction of the country and formalize policies for the future. The National Congress elects the Central Committee, which elects the Politburo. The highest position in the Party is that of the General Secretary, who is appointed by the Politburo.
The Constitution guarantees all citizens fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, press, assemble, demonstration, association, belief, religion and non-belief, equal rights between man and woman, the right to education and health care, the right and duty to labor, the right to build homes, and freedom to do business.
The State of Vietnam has exerted efforts to improve people’s living conditions. In addition to the Constitution, Vietnam has issued 90 laws and ordinances. The Legal system has been improved to ensure rights to freedom and development to every Vietnamese citizen in all civil domains, politics, economy, culture and society.
Vietnam is a socialist country under the leadership of the Communist Party. The Party holds a national congress every five years to outline the country’s overall direction and future course as well as to formalize policies.
The National Assembly, which includes 498 members and is open to non-Party members, is the supreme organ of state and the only body with constitutional and legislative power. The President of the State and the Prime Minister are elected by the National Assembly.
The President has the right to nominate candidates for a number of key positions including the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court and the Procurator-General of the People’s Office of Supervision and Control. Nominees are then approved by the National Assembly.
The Prime Minister, who is charged with the day-to-day handling of the Government, has the right to nominate and dismiss the members of his cabinet, though only with the approval of the National Assembly. He also has at his disposal the power to cancel or suspend decisions or directives issued by the ministries.
The Communist Party of Vietnam, the vanguard of the Vietnam working class, the faithful representative of the rights and interests of the working class, the toiling people, and the whole nation, acting upon the Marxist – Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh’s thought, is the force leading the State and society. All Party organizations operate within the framework of the Constitution and the law.
The State guarantees and unceasingly promotes the people’s mastery in all fields, and severely punishes all acts violating the interests of the motherland and the people; it strives to build a rich and strong country in which social justice prevails, all men have enough to eat and to wear, enjoy freedom, happiness, and all necessary conditions for complete development.
The National Assembly is the highest representative organ of the people and the highest organ of State power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The National Assembly is the only organ with constitutional and legislative powers, and shall decide the fundamental domestic and foreign policies, the socio-economic tasks, the country’s national – defense and security issues, the essential principles governing the organization and activity of the State machinery, the social relations and the activities of the citizen. Finally, the National Assembly shall exercise supreme control over all activities of the State.
The Government is the executive organ of the National Assembly, the highest organ of state administration of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It shall carry out overall management of the work for the fulfillment of the political, economic, cultural, social, and national – defense, security and external duties of the State.
The Government shall ensure the effectiveness of the State apparatus from the center to the grassroots, ensure the respect for and implementation of the Constitution and the law; it shall promote the mastery of the people in national construction and defense, ensure security and improvement of the people’s material and cultural living conditions. The Government is accountable to the National Assembly and shall make its reports to the National Assembly, its Standing Committee, and the country’s President.