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Official Gazette

Monday, September 26, 2022

65 Years - A Glorious Historical Stage of the National Assembly

Updated: 15:40’ - 29/01/2011

(Excerpts of a writing under this title by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Phu Trong, Political Bureau Member and National Assembly Chairman, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the general election to elect deputies to the first National Assembly of Vietnam)

Sixty-five years ago, on January 6, 1946, only five months after Vietnam regained independence, our people, under the clever and clear-sighted leadership of the Party and President Ho Chi Minh, successfully conducted a general election in a circumstance full of difficulties to elect deputies to the first National Assembly of a new Vietnam through democratic, equal and direct ballots. This great and important event has entered the national history as a glorious landmark, marking an advance by leaps and bounds in our country’s democratic institution, ushering in a new period of development for the nation. For the first time in history, Vietnam not only became an independent country but also had an agency representing the people’s will, aspirations and mastery to decide on important national affairs.

The success of the January 6, 1945 general election is the victory of the Vietnamese people’s patriotism, the victory of the first democratic republic established in Vietnam. It is also the victory of the judicious revolutionary line, of the great national unity policy and of Ho Chi Minh’s thought on building a law-governed state. It can be said that from “Ban Yeu Sach Cua Nhan Dan An Nam” (the Petition of the Vietnamese People) in 1919 to “Quoc Dan Dai Hoi Tan Trao” (Tan Trao National Congress) in 1945, then the first National Assembly in 1946, Ho Chi Minh’s thought on building a law-governed state was incrementally developed and concretized and eventually translated into lively reality.

Immediately after its emergence, the first National Assembly (1946-1960) made great contributions to consolidating the national independence, building the democratic republic state and successfully carrying out the war of resistance against the French colonialists. During the first years after peace was restored, the National Assembly adopted various plans for national construction, economic and cultural development, building of the people’s democratic regime, gradually advancing the North on the socialist path, which served as a solid base for the national reunification struggle, creating forces and posture for South Vietnam’s revolution to advance. During its 14 years of operation, the first National Assembly considered and passed the 1946 Constitution and the 1959 Constitution, 11 laws and 50 resolutions, and particularly set up a lawful and constitutional government headed by President Ho Chi Minh, which was fully guaranteed with prestige and powers to organize people in the resistance war and national construction, and the implementation of internal and external policies.

In the 1960-80 period, the National Assembly of five legislatures operated under the 1959 Constitution, bringing into full play its role in mobilizing human and material resources for socialist construction in the North and the struggle to liberate the South and reunify the country. The National Assembly step by step broadened its external relations with fraternal and friendly countries in the world, aiming to win the peace-loving people’s support for and sympathy with the nation’s resistance war. The National Assembly of the 6th legislature (1976-81), which was elected after the complete liberation of South Vietnam, became the National Assembly of a reunified Vietnam. It made extremely important decisions, aiming to further consolidate and promote the revolutionary fruits and build the unified state of Vietnam. It promulgated the 1980 Constitution, laws and resolutions on organization and operation of the National Assembly, the Government, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy, which all served as necessary legal bases for the operation of the state apparatus and the entire society in a context where the whole country advanced to socialism.

From 1980 to 1992, the National Assembly operated under the 1980 Constitution with its functions and tasks fully specified. Being the highest representative agency of the people, the highest state power body of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the sole legislative body, the National Assembly decided on basic internal and external policies, economic and cultural development targets, major principles for organization and operation of the state apparatus and on citizens’ social relations and activities. It also exercised the right to supreme oversight over the observance of the Constitution and laws. In addition to the laws on organization of the state apparatus, promulgated under the 1980 Constitution, the National Assembly, for the first time, promulgated the Penal  Code (1985) and the Law on Marriage and Family (1986), marking a considerable development in its legislative work.

When the country embarked on the “doi moi” (renewal) in 1986, the National Assembly’s role and position were further affirmed and its prestige constantly increased. It attached more importance to considering and deciding on important national issues, socio-economic development plans, national target programs, defense and security maintenance and the organization of state bodies according to law.

The National Assembly of the 8th legislature (1987-92) became the National Assembly of the initial stage of the “doi moi” cause. Many important laws institutionalizing new economic policies were passed for the first time by the National Assembly, including the Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam (1987) and the Law on Private Enterprises (1990). These laws institutionalized the policy on development of a multi-sector commodity economy in the country, which recognized for the first time the private ownership of means of production and the rights to set up private companies and enterprises. Besides, it also passed various tax laws, such as the Turnover Tax Law, the Special Consumption Tax Law and the Income Tax Law, and the Maritime Code, the Civil Aviation Law and a number of ordinances.

Since 1992, organized and operating under the 1992 Constitution, the National Assembly, throughout nearly four terms of its operation, has witnessed vigorous and correct renewals, gradually redressing formality in some aspects. Its organization has been incrementally consolidated with the additional establishment of the Defense and Security Committee in its 9th legislature (1992-97); the Finance and Budget Committee and the Justice Committee in its 12th legislature (2007-11); the number of full-time deputies accounting for 29.4% and the establishment of a number of specialized bodies under the National Assembly Standing Committee.

With its great efforts to build and consolidate the legal system to meet the requirements of accelerated comprehensive renewal, the National Assembly has, since 1992, passed 214 codes and laws and the National Assembly Standing Committee promulgated 130 ordinances, creating a legal foundation for regulation of almost all aspects of social life. Legislative activities have been qualitatively improved, ensuring the constitutionality, legality, consistency and synchronism of the legal system with more specific provisions.

The National Assembly has made numerous important decisions on the State organization and high-ranking personnel; passed resolutions on state budget estimates, allocation and settlement, resolutions on annual and five-year socio-economic development plans as well as ten-year socio-economic development strategy; ratified treaties which Vietnam has signed or acceded to; decided on investment in the construction of important national works such as Ho Chi Minh road, Ba Ria-Vung Tau gas-fired electricity and nitrogenous fertilizer plant, Son La hydroelectric power plant, Dung Quat oil refinery, Ninh Thuan nuclear power plant..., creating prerequisites for stepping up national industrialization and modernization. In addition, it has also attached more importance to its oversight activities. At each session, the National Assembly devoted much time to examining and discussing reports of the Government, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy on the performance of their functions and tasks prescribed by law. It enhanced topical supervisions, focusing on burning issues; raised the effectiveness of question- answer sessions, thus creating an open and democratic atmosphere in its activities.

The National Assembly has increasingly stepped up its external-relation activities and expanded bilateral and multi-lateral relations. Currently, it is a member of many international organizations such as ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Association (AIPA), Asian-European Parliamentary Partnership Forum (ASEP), Asian-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), Association of Francophone Parliaments (APF) and International Parliamentary Union (IPU). It has not only actively participated in activities of these organizations but also proposed and put forth important initiatives to enhance the solidarity, friendship and cooperation among parliaments. Especially, it assumed the AIPO chairmanship for the 2001-02 term and the AIPA chairmanship for the 2009-10 term, and successfully organized the AIPO-23 General Assembly in September 2002 and the AIPA-31 General Assembly in September 2010. And recently, the National Assembly was elected vice-chairman of the International Parliamentary Union for the 2010-11 term, marking the fast development of Vietnam’s parliamentary diplomacy and raising the role and position of the Vietnamese National Assembly in the international arena.

Looking back at 65 years of development of the Vietnamese National Assembly, we can realize that:

First, the National Assembly emerged as the outcome of our people’s revolutionary struggle under the wise leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh. It came into being in a historical circumstance full of hardships and trials. The process of its formation and emergence was crystallized from the judicious selection and harmonious combination between patriotism and the universal values of Marxism-Leninism as well as Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, which conformed to people’s aspirations and the law of historic development.

From “Quoc Dan Dai Hoi Tan Trao” - the predecessor of the Vietnamese National Assembly -  to the emergence of the National Assembly of the first legislature and the development of its 11 subsequent legislatures, a process of accumulating theoretical knowledge and practical experience was formed and incrementally concretized with specific and timely deeds, suitable to the development and requirements of each period. Since its emergence, the National Assembly has swum with the national historical tide, joining the entire Party, entire army and entire population in the protracted and arduous resistance wars till the final victory and national reunification, then the cause of “doi moi” for national construction and defense from the final decades of the 20th century and early years of the 21st century.

Second, since its birth, the National Assembly has always been the embodiment of the national unity bloc, representing and joining the people of all strata and all social classes in realizing the objectives of building and defending the Vietnamese Fatherland. Right from its first legislature, the National Assembly’s structure and organization demonstrated its representation of the people’s will, aspirations and mastery as well as its deep attachment to the people. The National Assembly’s Declaration (at the first session of the first legislature in March 1946) clearly stated: “The sovereignty of the independent Vietnam belongs to the entire Vietnamese people. The destiny of the Vietnamese nation falls in the hand of the Vietnamese National Assembly.” From then on, the National Assembly of subsequent legislatures has always ensured its profound representation, with its deputies representing people of all strata and territorial regions, expressing the country’s broad unity bloc.

Third, since its emergence, the position and nature of the National Assembly have always been consistently affirmed in the platforms and political line of the Party and institutionalized in different constitutions of the country. After each revision of the Constitution, such position and nature were further consolidated and heightened. The National Assembly is the only state agency elected by the people on the principles of suffrage, equality and direct ballot. This means that the people authorize the National Assembly to represent them in exercising their powers through the state. The National Assembly is vested with great tasks and powers to establish the political and legal order in all aspects of social life and decide on important national issues.

Fourth, the process of formation, emergence and development of the National Assembly is a process of continuous inheritance and constant renewal of its organization and operation, meeting in time the strategic tasks in each revolutionary period. Since its first legislature, the National Assembly and its agencies have been unceasingly renewed in both organizational structure and operation modes. Practical experiences of previous legislatures have always been the precious lessons for the perfection and consolidation of the National Assembly of subsequent legislatures; and the operational results and growth of the National Assembly of subsequent legislatures have come from the continuous inheritance and development of the preceding legislatures. The renewal of the National Assembly’s organizational structure and operation modes has been always carried out in a comprehensive manner.

Fifth, ensuring and enhancing the Party’s leadership constitutes a decisive element for the National Assembly to become the highest representative body of the people and the highest state power agency of the country, splendidly accomplishing its responsibilities entrusted by the people. This is not only the basic principle for the exercise of state powers as well as the organization and operation of the state apparatus, but also the guideline directing the process of renewing and consolidating the state, ensuring that the state operates under the political orientations of the Party, well establishes the relations between the National Assembly and other bodies in the state apparatus. The enhancement of the Party’s leadership over the state is always associated with the renewal and reorganization of the Party, including the renewal of the contents and modes of the Party’s leadership over the state in general and the National Assembly in particular.

Inheriting and promoting the achievements and experiences obtained in the past 65 years, the Vietnamese National Assembly is striving harder to better perform its functions, tasks, powers and responsibilities, aiming to satisfy to the most the requirements and tasks of building socialism and firmly defending the socialist Fatherland in the new period. Especially, efforts should be concentrated on the following tasks:

1. To be fully and profoundly aware of the role and position of the National Assembly, clearly defining it as an institution of the socialist democracy, where the people’s powers are concentrated to the utmost in the system of the law-governed socialist state led by the Communist Party. Thereby, to continue consolidating the organization of the National Assembly and its bodies, heighten the positions and roles of the Ethnic Council and Committees of the National Assembly; renew the mode of operation of the National Assembly towards bringing into play collective intelligence and intensifying democratic debate in order to make judicious and accurate decisions.

2. To attach importance to raising the quality of National Assembly deputies, considering this a step of decisive significance for raising the quality of performance of the functions, tasks and powers of the National Assembly. To perfect the mechanism of selecting, nominating and electing deputies to the National Assembly in the direction of raising the quality of locality-based representation while paying attention to the requirements of representation based on sector, sex and profession; to enhance the ties between National Assembly deputies and voters; to rationally increase the quantity of full-time National Assembly deputies and strongly promotes the role of National Assembly deputies at both central and local levels. At the same time, to consolidate and raise the capabilities of advisory bodies, aiming to provide active support for activities of the National Assembly, its agencies and deputies as well.

3. To enhance the legislative capability and activities of the National Assembly, meeting the requirements of national construction and defense. To continue raising the activeness in legislative activities, renewing the law-making process, ensuring the schedule and quality of drafting bills right at the initial steps, attaching importance to defining the policy contents of bills before proceeding to subsequent steps in the legislative process. To strive for the target that by 2020, Vietnam will have all basic laws to regulate relations in all aspects of social life.

4. To raise the effect and effectiveness of oversight activities, focusing on major burning issues in the socio-economic life (such as land administration and use, investment in capital construction, management and use of state capital, assets and state budget, corruption prevention and combat, thrift practice and waste combat and settlement of citizens’ complaints and denunciations). To correctly assess through oversight activities the efficacy of operations and determining the responsibilities of agencies and organizations and their heads in the performance of official duties with a view to step up the operation of the state apparatus.

5. To heighten the responsibility in, and the quality of, deciding on important national issues, ensuring the common interests of the country and conformity to the people’s will and aspirations; the quality of deciding on the state budget, socio-economic issues and organization of the state apparatus.

6. To step up external activities of the National Assembly, contributing to the implementation of open external policies of multilateralization and diversification of the external relations of the Party, the State and our people. To make full use of favorable objective conditions to carry out more vigorously parliamentary external activities in the new situation, contributing to accelerating the process of regional and international integration.-

VNL_KH1 

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