Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Minh Thong
|National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and other deputies at a meeting with voters in Do Son district, Hai Phong city__Photo: Doan Tan/VNA
Through 80 years’ building, renewal and development with 15 terms, including the current 15th term, the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) has always well performed the important missions entrusted by the Party and the people as the highest representative body of the people and the supreme state power agency, efficiently performing the constitutional and legislative tasks and deciding on important national issues. Every law, every resolution or every important decision made by the NA over the past 80 years has always associated with the national destiny and for the people’s interests, deeply crystallizing “the Party’s ideas and the people’s aspirations”, demonstrating the national unity strength and the people’s confidence and support. Throughout all revolutionary periods, the NA has accompanied the nation and the people under the Party’s leadership, surmounting all challenges and splendidly accomplishing its tasks and responsibility before the people and the country, greatly contributing to the country’s achievements of historic significance. Embarking into the new development period with greater tasks and objectives set forth in the 13th National Party Congress’s Document: “To comprehensively and synchronously step up the cause of national renewal, industrialization and modernization; to build and firmly defend the Fatherland, maintaining an environment of peace and stability; to strive for the goal that by mid-21st century, Vietnam will become a socialist-oriented developed country…”, the NA should vigorously renovate its organization and operation so as to be “a united, creative NA of action for the people’s interests”.
In that spirit, the Resolution of the 6th plenum of the 13th Party Central Committee on “Continuing to build and complete the Vietnamese socialist law-ruled state in the new period” has underlined: “To continue building the National Assembly to be truly the highest representative body of the people, representing the will and aspirations of the people, and be the supreme state power agency, promoting democracy, the rule of law, modernity, professionalism, scientificity, publicity, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in organization and operation, ensuring that the National Assembly well performs the functions of legislation, decision on important national issues, and supreme oversight of the State’s activities.”
To materialize the above important orientation, further renewal of the NA’s organization and operation in the new circumstance should be resolutely carried out with high political determination and appropriate steps in compliance with the Constitution.
To achieve the objective of renovating the NA in the spirit of Resolution 27-NQ/TW of 2022 on “Continuing to build and complete the Vietnamese socialist law-ruled state in the new period”, the process of renewing the organization and operation of the NA should be carried out in two periods: the 2023-30 period and the 2030-45 period.
Improving the organizational apparatus of the NA in the 2023-30 period
Within the framework of the 2013 Constitution, the completion of the organizational structure of the NA up to 2030 (the 14th and 15th legislatures) concentrates on strengthening the organization of NA agencies and heightening the structural quality of NA deputies and agencies.
The quality of NA deputies will be improved in terms of structure and capability. The structure of NA deputies will be renovated in association with higher standards and capability of deputies. The standards on educational level, professional qualifications, capability, working experiences and prestige for good performance of deputies’ tasks need to be further concretized.
The election of NA deputies will be changed in the direction of shortening the period between a national Party congress and the first session of the new NA, reasonably increasing the ratio of candidates to NA deputies in order to ensure fairness and equality among NA candidates, and reducing the number of NA deputies elected at each electorate. In order to raise the quality of deputies, it is necessary to amend regulations on NA electorates in the direction that each will elect only one deputy. Although this regulation gives rise to more electorate and increase election costs, it would bring about many benefits: more competitiveness among candidates, easier and more democratic selection by voters, higher accountability of elected deputies before voters, and closer connection between the NA deputy and voters in each electorate.
It is important to further reduce the number of NA deputies working in legislative and executive agencies. The number of full-time NA deputies should be increased to represent 60 percent of the total number of NA deputies in the next legislature. The regulations and conditions as well as policies for NA deputies need to be revised for them to well perform their tasks and exercise their powers. The minimum time for deputies to work at their electorates should be determined, strictly following the reality, linking themselves with voters and fulfilling their responsibility to voters.
At the same time, it is required to study development of regulations and criteria for assessing NA deputies’ performance.
By 2030, the structure of the NA Standing Committee will be basically kept unchanged, with regulations on its operation to be amended to bring to the fullest play its role as the standing body that prepares the contents and agendas for NA sessions, coordinates activities of NA agencies, the NA Standing Committee’s bodies, and properly performing the tasks authorized by the NA in accordance with the Constitution.
The organizational structures of the NA’s Ethnic Council and Committees need to be strengthened, enabling NA bodies to operate more regularly. In order to increase the independence and objectivity of NA Committees in verifying draft laws and resolutions to be submitted to the NA by ministries and ministerial-level agencies under the Government’s authorization before official discussion and decision by the NA, it is necessary to consider reducing the number of NA Committee members who are deputies working in the domains to be regulated by the draft documents and the domains under the charge of each Committee.
The tasks and powers of the NA’s Ethnic Council and Committees will be further adjusted, redressing overlaps in domains under the charge of several Committees, ensuring compatibility with domains under the management of ministries and sectors. On that basis, it is necessary to study increasing the number of NA Committees corresponding to the number of ministries and ministerial-level agencies in the Government’s organizational structure toward each Committee overseeing only one domain under the management of one ministry or ministerial-level agency.
The legal provisions on the post of NA Secretary-General will be completed to heighten the quality and efficiency of advice according to the process, order and procedures of operation of the NA, and consolidate the NA Secretariat toward operating in a professional and full-time manner.
It is important to review and adjust the functions and tasks, and strengthen the apparatus of agencies attached to the NA Standing Committee and the NA Office to be unified, streamlined and professional. The contingent of cadres and civil servants with firm political stuff, professional qualifications and working skills will be built up to the requirements of the NA in a socialist law-ruled state.
Heightening the operational quality and efficiency of the NA in the 2021-30 period
Regarding lawmaking work
It is proposed to heighten the NA’s role and responsibility in building a complete, timely, synchronous, consistent, feasible, public, transparent and stable legal system, taking the lawful and legitimate rights and interests of the people and enterprises as the center to promote innovation, meeting the fast and sustainable development requirements.
It is necessary to raise the quality of legal documents issued by the NA, ensuring their feasibility, accessibility and applicability, putting an end to the promulgation of “framework” laws. This includes restricting the promulgation of laws with a wide scope of regulation while promoting the building of laws with a narrow scope of regulation, concise contents, clear and specific provisions on rights, obligations and liabilities, and minimizing the assignment of the Government to detail the laws so that the laws can be applied directly and quickly to reality.
The authorization of the NA’s legislative power to its Standing Committee will be minimized, leaving the Standing Committee to issue ordinances only in case of urgent necessity, and no longer promulgate ordinances when the NA shifts to operate in a more regular basis. It is necessary to minimize the NA’s promulgation of resolutions containing legal provisions, which will only be promulgated by laws, so as to ensure strict process and higher quality of legal documents and their efficiency.
The law- and ordinance-making and -promulgating processes will be improved toward separating the policy making process from the law-drafting process, enhancing the publicity and transparency in the drafting and promulgation process, involving more experts, scientists, affected parties, the business community and people of various social strata in the drafting process.
It is also important to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of competent agencies, organizations and persons in the law and ordinance making and promulgation for the receipt and expounding of comments of NA deputies, agencies, organizations, enterprises and people, and finalization of draft papers before official submission.
Orientations on legislative activities for the whole term of the NA will be formulated. The preparation of annual law- and ordinance-making programs will be renovated to ensure flexibility and feasibility.
Discipline in lawmaking work should be enhanced. Legislative activities of the NA will be modernized through applying advanced technologies to the legislative process to meet the requirements of e-NA.
Regarding decision on important national issues
There is a need to clearly define the Government’s role in elaborating national policies and the NA’s role in deciding the policies strictly in the spirit and under provisions of the 2013 Constitution.
The process of deciding on important national issues will be renewed towards the NA deciding on important national issues mainly by law.
It is vital to build the law on order and procedures for considering and deciding on national important projects and works as well as other important issues by resolutions of the NA, ensuring strictness, transparency and feasibility.
Regarding supreme oversight activities
The quality and efficiency of supreme oversight activities of the NA under the 2015 Law on Oversight Activities of the National Assembly and People’s Councils will be raised. Such Law should be reviewed for complete institutionalization of the Party’s viewpoints on control of the state power, heightening the role and efficiency of the NA’s oversight of power-executing activities of the President, the Government, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuracy and the State Audit Office of Vietnam. It is crucial to further study and clarify the constitutional provisions on the NA’s supreme oversight of the State’s activities, aiming to clearly determine the oversight power of the NA and the oversight power of People’s Councils, addressing overlaps in oversight scopes, subjects and frequencies in one locality and one year. Importance will be attached to the supervision of the promulgation of legal documents, the management and use of national resources, and the state budget estimation and execution.
It is important to renew and raise the quality of questions and answers at NA and NA Standing Committee sessions, activities of expounding and talking on policies at the NA’s Ethnic Council and Committees.
The confidence-voting process will be completed and the number of confidence votes on holders of the positions elected or approved by the NA during their terms of office will be increased. Mechanisms will be created and the procedures completed for implementing the provisions of the Constitution and the Law on Organization of the National Assembly regarding confidence voting.
Interim committees will be established to verify draft laws, resolutions, reports and projects submitted to the NA by its Standing Committee or with contents related to the domains under the charge of the NA’s Ethnic Council and various Committees.
Regarding the mode of operation of the NA
The regulations on NA’s sessions will be renovated and completed, raising the quality of sessions, promoting the role, responsibility and capability of NA deputies at sessions, ensuring democracy and publicity, and creating mechanisms and favorable conditions for voters and people of all strata to monitor and oversee the NA’s activities at sessions.
Technological achievements will be applied to enable the NA to meet in person in combination with online, enhancing the form of online voting.
It is necessary to further renew the mode of discussion at sessions, shifting group discussions to discussions at the Ethnic Council and Committees, changing the form of discussions at sessions from making presentations to debate and counter-argument.
The number of NA sessions a year will be increased in the direction of shortening the session duration and increasing topical sessions to promptly meet the national development requirements.
In principle, the NA’s operation relies on two principal pillars being the NA’s bodies (the Ethnic Council and Committees). Therefore, focus should be shifted from activities organized according to NA deputies’ delegations to activities of the Ethnic Council and Committees. Hence, it is essential to study the renewal of regulations on sessions toward holding discussions on issues under the session agenda at the Ethnic Council or each Committee instead of group discussions as at present, apart from plenary meetings.
It is important to raise the quality and efficiency of activities of individual deputies, creating mechanisms to support them in accessing information and intensive consultation services provided by experts in studying and discussing draft laws and resolutions of the NA.
Enhancing the Party’s leadership over the organization and operation of the NA
The mode of the Party’s leadership over the NA will be renovated, bringing into play the role of the NA as the highest representative of the people and the supreme state power agency under the Party’s leadership.
The mechanism and process for the Central Committee, the Politburo and the Secretariat of the Party to decide on guidelines, line and policies to be institutionalized into laws by the NA will be improved with the participation of the NA’s Party Committee and NA deputies.
It is important to further consolidate the Party organization in the NA, finalizing the regulations on leadership and coordination between the NA’s Party Committee as well as Party cells with the Party Committee at the NA Office in managing Party members being NA deputies and in Party building work.
Prominence will be given to the role and responsibility of the Secretary and Deputy-Secretary of the NA’s Party Committee as well as the NA’s Party Committee, the Politburo, the Secretariat and Central Committee members being NA deputies in concretizing and institutionalizing the Party’s line, guidelines and policies into laws and resolutions of the NA.
Further improving the organization and operation of the NA in the post-2030 period
That our country will become a developed country with modern industry and upper-middle income after 2030 under the goals set by the 13th National Party Congress and continue striving for the goal of becoming a developed country with high income by 2045 poses the need for a new constitutional framework for sustainable national development. This necessitates the revision of the 2013 Constitution, which creates a great opportunity for completing the law-ruled state strictly according to the spirit and requirements of a law-ruled regime identified in Resolution 27-NQ/TW. This resolution states the principle that the state power is unified with the division, coordination and control among state agencies in the enforcement of legislative power, executive power and judicial power.
The revision of the 2013 Constitution aims to successfully achieve the general objective already identified in Resolution 27-NQ/TW: “The completion of the Vietnamese socialist law-ruled state of the people, by the people and for the people under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam with a complete legal system is carried out strictly and consistently with the supreme respect of the Constitution and law, the respect, guarantee and effective protection of human rights, civil rights; the state power is unified with clear-cut division, close coordination and effective control; the professional law-ruled and modern administration and justice; the tidy, streamlined and clean state apparatus operating effectively and efficiently; the contingent of fully qualified, capable, professional, upright cadres, civil servants and public employees; the modern and effective national administration, meeting the requirements of fast and sustainable national development, making the country a socialist-oriented developed country with high income by 2045”.
On the basis of (revised) provisions of the Constitution, the legal provisions on organization and operation of the NA should be improved in synchrony with the renewal and completion of the organization and operation of agencies enforcing the executive and judicial powers in the socialist law-ruled state.
The NA will shift from the model of NA operating mainly through sessions to the one operating regularly toward professionalism and modernity based on two fundamental pillars: Deputies and the Ethnic Council and Committees.
After 2030 with the orientation toward 2045, at least 70 percent of NA deputies will operate on a full-time basis. The standards and capability of NA deputies, especially full-timers, will be further heightened. The number of deputies being members of the Government, People’s Courts, and deputies in the armed forces will be minimized.
The mode of operation of NA deputies will be changed along the line that full-time deputies must devote one-third of their time for operation at their respective electorates according to the mechanism of voters’ supervision over deputies.
The organization and operation of the NA Standing Committee will be renovated under the condition of the NA’s regular operation, without making legislative authorization. It will perform the role as the standing body of the NA to prepare agendas for NA sessions, coordinate activities of NA bodies and maintain ties with NA deputies.
Agencies attached to the NA will be reorganized toward increasing the number of NA Committees on the basis of readjusting the domains under the Committees’ charges and establishing more Committees in conformity with the division and separation as well as the adjustment of domains under the Committees’ charges. It is a need to study the reorganization of the Committee on People’s Aspirations Committee on Deputy-Related Affairs attached to the NA Standing Committee into Committees of the NA.
The organization and operation of the NA’s Ethnic Council and Committees will be renovated towards the target that all members of the Ethnic Council and Committees are full-timers. The Ethnic Council and Committees will be the NA’s agencies operating regularly in association with the NA’s regular operation. More jurisdictions and tasks will be delegated to these agencies in lawmaking, deciding on important national issues and in supreme oversight, ensuring that the Ethnic Council and Committees are the pillars in the NA’s operation.
The institution on NA Secretary- General will be improved toward professionalism and modernity in conformity with international practices.
It is crucial to renew the organization and operation of the assisting staff and apparatus in service of the NA’s operation. Importance will be attached to training, recruiting and attracting talents to work at the NA Office, particularly scientists and experts to give legal and policy advice for the NA. More preferential policies and favorable working conditions will be provided for cadres and civil servants in the assisting apparatus of the NA.-