The new Constitution of Vietnam comes into force on January 1, 2014. On this occasion, Associate Professor, Doctor Le Minh Thong, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Law Committee granted the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) an interview on the implementation of the Constitution.
In order to implement the new Constitution, what are priority tasks to be performed in the coming time?
The National Assembly’s Resolution No. 64/2013/QH13 on the implementation of the Constitution has set forth a number of priority tasks to put the new Constitution into life.
First, the Constitution must be widely disseminated in the entire political system and among people of all strata for raising their awareness about the Constitution so that they are able to use the Constitution to protect their interests, and at the same time for promoting social consensus on the implementation of the Constitution in reality.
Second, the Constitution should be further studied in order to clearly understand its role and great significance in social life as well as the theoretical and practical bases of the revision of the Constitution, and firmly grasp the new provisions of the Constitution which spell out the national development policies in the new situation.
Third, the specific provisions of the Constitution should be enforced through reviewing and adjusting the competence, functions, organizational structure and method of operation of the state apparatus in line with the spirit of the new Constitution. The legal system should also be reviewed and revised in conformity with the new Constitution through scraping all regulations which are no longer consistent with the Constitution and issuing new legal documents to concretize the new provisions of the Constitution in all walks of life.
The above tasks are of paramount importance so every agency, especially the National Assembly and the Government, should draw up broad programs and specific plans to perform these tasks.
First of all, the National Assembly will review its lawmaking programs for 2014 and 2015, to focus on amending current laws which are incompliant with the new Constitution, and adding new provisions.
The National Assembly will focus on elaborating laws relating to the organization of the National Assembly and the Government, and those on the President, People’s Courts, People’s Procuracies and local administrations. These laws must be passed before 2016, at the 10th session of the XIIIth National Assembly as the latest, to serve as a basis for the election of the next National Assembly and the creation of a new state apparatus in conformity with the Constitution.
Special priority should be given to the review and revision as well as elaboration of laws concerning human rights and fundamental rights and obligations of citizens in order to enforce these rights.
Legal documents which fail to demonstrate human rights and civic rights or which are contrary to the Constitution’s provisions on these rights must be revised. The formulation of a law on referenda, a law on associations, a law on demonstrations, etc., must be stepped up to provide necessary conditions and procedures for the people to exercise these rights.
Laws on economic and social issues should also be scrutinized and amended to comply with the Constitution. Those regulations which are contrary to a socialist-oriented market economy and general economic policies must be amended, while cultural, educational, scientific and technological, environmental and social security issues must be concretized in a new system of legal documents.
Issues related to national defense and international integration must also be reviewed to ensure more effective and stronger integration corresponding to the country’s status.
As lawmaking is a time-consuming process, what should be done to deal with the inconsistencies between the Constitution and existing laws for the time being?
On principle, once the Constitution takes effect, the legal documents which are contrary to it will become null and void. However, it takes time to review the legal system to identify which legal documents are invalidated.
The new Constitution adjusts some functions and powers of state agencies which, under Resolution 64, should be implemented as soon as the Constitution takes effect. The National Assembly Standing Committee is considering a resolution to guide the performance of the new functions and tasks of state agencies as stipulated in the new Constitution.
The 2014 and 2015 lawmaking programs must prioritize the laws concerning organizational apparatuses as firm legal bases for the election of the XIVth National Assembly and the creation of a new state apparatus. For the establishment of the National Election Council, a law on election and a scheme on the establishment of the Council must be urgently examined and passed to create a new legal basis for the election of the new National Assembly and People’s Councils.
The new Constitution’s chapter on local administrations sets out new viewpoints on local administrations, creating conditions for the establishment, renovation and reform of the current local administration model. So, a Law on Local Administrations must be passed before 2016 as a basis for the election of local administrations.
In the process of discussion, local administration was a controversial issue. The National Assembly has come up with overarching provisions, creating a flexible and open political basis for diversifying the models of local administrations consonant with the peculiarities of the rural areas, urban areas, islands and special administrative-economic units. The new provisions more clearly affirm the role of local people in creating local administrations and set out the principles of delegation of powers among local administrations at different levels.
Every year, the National Assembly will identify urgent tasks. It is expected that the new legal system conformable with the Constitution will be completed by 2020.
At its 23rd meeting, the National Assembly Standing Committee discussed the establishment of a focal body to oversee, urge and coordinate state agencies in the implementation of the Constitution. What’s your opinion on this matter?
That the National Assembly Standing Committee raised the question on the establishment of a structure or body to help it direct the implementation of the Constitution reflects its special attention to this work. However, opinions still differ on the matter.
Some deputies proposed the establishment of a steering committee, others suggested the formation of a task force, and some disagreed with such establishment. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the entire political system and society to implement the Constitution. Every agency, organization and community will, depending on their position and role, implement the Constitution in ways suitable to their practical conditions. Particularly, the National Assembly, the Government, the Supreme People’s Court and other state agencies are responsible for organizing the implementation of the Constitution actively, creatively and responsibly.
The Government is preparing a program for the implementation of the Constitution. With or without a steering committee, all agencies are actively carrying out implementation activities.-