Tuesday, 00:49 13-09-2022

Some issues in building and perfecting the law-governed socialist State of Vietnam

Political theory Tuesday, 00:49 13-09-2022
Communist Review - Continuing to build and perfect the law-governed socialist State is a key task in the cause of renovating the national political system from 2021 to 2030. To achieve the set goal, it is essential to adopt a professional and logical approach and follow an appropriate, effective, and feasible stepwise framework.

1- Theory and history of the state and law show that a law-governed State is one of the universal values of progressive humanity as it upholds the law, and expresses the wishes and aspirations of people for a democratic and equal society. From theoretical awareness to practice, the creation of this state model has had undeniably positive and great impacts on human life. Many countries, depending on their specific historical circumstances, have inherited and applied it to build their own rule of law state model at a different level.

In their classical writings, although Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and V.I. Lenin did not use the term “the rule of law state”, they established ideological core values, namely, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the constitutional and legal new form of state, the people's mastery. Accordingly, the state is no longer an organ “standing above society” but a state that serves society, “a state that is no longer like its original meaning”, “a half state”; The people are no longer “the people of the state” but they decide for themselves, create the state, and are master of state power. The state builds a democratic legal system with a working-class nature, for the sake of the people, liberates and protects human beings; at the same time, it is organized and ruled by law and governs society by law.

Acquiring, applying, and creatively developing Marxism - Leninism into the reality of Vietnam's revolution, President Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) always attach great importance to building a socialist law-governed state of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is expressly reflected in the documents of the Conference of the First Party Congress to form CPV. It was especially concretized in the Declaration of Independence to give birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (in 1945). It is a State with a cross-cutting spirit: “All benefits are for the people. All rights belong to the people”(1); “Our country is a democratic state. All work is done for the benefit of the people”(2); “Our regime is a democratic one by what the people are masters”(3). This vision was also institutionalized in the 1946 Constitution - the first Constitution of the Vietnamese State that stated power belongs to the people, by the people, and for the people. Accordingly, the state apparatus is established as an apparatus that executes the will and aspirations of the people; the contingent of public cadres and civil servants shall not be “revolutionary mandarins” but “the people's servants” who take care of the people's well-being and happiness; the law is not to punish people but to protect and benefit people.

The vision of building and perfecting the rule of law state in the documents of the second, third, fourth, fifth Party Congresses, especially the sixth and seventh Congresses are mentioned, developed, and institutionalized respectively in the Constitutions of 1959, 1980, 1992 although the term “rule of law state” has not been introduced. When the country entered the period of renovation and international integration, the perception and theoretical thinking of the Party made further progress towards building a socialist rule of law state. Accordingly, at the 2nd Plenum of the 7th National Congress (held in November 1991), for the first time, the term “law- governed socialist state” was officially mentioned by the Party and more clearly stated at the National Conference in the middle term of 7th National Congress (1994), and at the same time, continued to be supplemented and developed through the next Party Congresses. This is the political basis for the 1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (amended and supplemented in 2001) to institutionalize it in Article 2: “The Socialist Republic of Vietnam State is a law-governed socialist State of the people, by the people and for the people. All State powers belong to the people and are based on the alliance between the working class, the peasantry, and the intelligentsia. The State powers are unified and decentralized to State bodies, which shall coordinate with one another in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judiciary powers”.

Besides, institutionalizing the Platform for national construction in the transitional period to socialism (Added and developed in 2011), Article 2 of the 2013 Constitution reaffirms: “1. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam State is a law-governed socialist State of the people, by the people, and for the people; 2. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a country where the People are the masters; All State powers belong to the people and are based on the alliance between the working class, the peasantry, and the intelligentsia; 3. The State powers are unified and decentralized to State bodies, which shall coordinate with and control one another in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judiciary powers”. Thus, it can be seen that, constitutionally, the 2013 Constitution comprehensively stipulates the core issues of the Socialist rule of law State of Vietnam in terms of nature, principles, organization, and operation, the subject of the exercise of state power; decentralization between state power agencies, the position of law for the State and Vietnamese society; human rights and civil rights issues; the Party's leadership role in the socialist rule of law state.

From the political, legal, and practical basis, it is shown that: “The law-governed socialist State is different from the bourgeois rule of law by nature: the rule of law under the capitalist regime is essentially a tool to protect and serve the interests of the bourgeoisie, while the rule of law under the socialist regime is a tool to express and exercise the people's right to mastery, to ensure and protect the interests of the majority of the people. Through law enforcement, the State ensures the conditions for the people to be the subject of political power, exercise dictatorship against all infringement upon the interests of the Fatherland and the people”(4). The Socialist rule of law state of Vietnam is governed under the leadership of the Party and the Constitution – the supreme law. The legal system ensures publicity, transparency, feasibility, efficiency, principles of equality, and protection of human rights as well as the primacy of the socialist rule of law. A Socialist rule of law state aims at building a strong country with rich people, democracy, justice, civilization, prosperity, and happiness and orients towards progressive and humane values ​​“based on the common interests of the whole society in harmony with the legitimate interests of people. Its nature is different from that of societies that compete to gain private interests between individuals and groups. Therefore, it is necessary and conditional to build social consensus instead of social opposition and antagonism”(5). The relationship between the Party, the State, and the people is the relationship between actors who reach a compromise of goals and interests under the leadership of the Party, the governance of the State, and the mastery of the people; all government policies, laws and activities “aim to achieve benefits and seeking happiness for the people”(6).

2- In reality, the construction of the socialist rule of law state in Vietnam has achieved numerous significant results. The legal system has been basically improved, meeting the requirements of management, stability, socio-economic development, construction, and defense of the Fatherland. The National Assembly that exercises the constitutional and legislative powers, decides significant national affairs, and exercises supreme control over all activities of the State became more innovative and effective. The people’s role and right to mastery have been improved and promoted, all state powers belong to the people under the mechanism of direct democracy, representative democracy, especially democracy grassroots level with the motto: “People know, people discuss, people do, people monitor, people benefit”. The state apparatus was initially restructured in a streamlined, modern, and efficient manner; the mechanism of assignment, coordination and control of power among public agencies in the exercise of legislative, executive, and judicial powers has become clearer and has made positive changes. In particular, elected deputies have demonstrated a clearer and more effective role and responsibility. The executive branch became more active, focusing on management, removing barriers, and supporting development. Administrative and judicial reform made a breakthrough and better protected national interests as well as legal and legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals; Human rights and citizens' rights are respected, protected, and guaranteed. These results were confirmed by the 13th Party Congress: “The construction of a socialist rule-of-law State has made progress, the state apparatus structure has continued to be perfected to run more smoothly and effectively, thus ensuring the synchronous implementation of legislative, executive and judicial powers”(7).

However, the Party also pointed out: “Building a socialist rule of law state has not yet met the requirements of socio-economic development and management of the country in the new situation”(8). There still exist regulations that are not consistent, lack practicality, and have loopholes and overlaps. The power control mechanism is incomplete; There are also limitations to the people's supervisory role. The organization and operation of local authorities in some places have not yet been renewed strongly; the decentralization is not clear, leading to inefficiencies. The sense of law observance is not strict; Discipline is ignored in some localities, handling of law violations is not timely, and sanctions are inadequate. Administrative and judicial reforms have not fully met the country's development requirements. The structure of officials and civil servants is not streamlined; The quality, capacity, and prestige of some officials and civil servants are still limited, lack professionalism, and have not met the requirements of tasks in the new situation. The issue of synchronous and consistent renewal of economy with politics, culture, and society; There are some limitations in implementing synchronous renovation in economic, political, cultural, and social sectors as well as in conducting economic renewal and reform of the state apparatus.

3- After more than 35 years of renovation, the country has obtained great achievements of historical significance but also faced countless challenges and obstacles intertwined, thus setting new requirements for the construction and defense of the Fatherland in general, and the building of a socialist rule of law state in particular. The 13th Party Congress clearly stated: “It is essential to build and perfect a socialist rule of law state that is pure, strong, compact, effective and efficient, serves the people and national growth; Strengthen publicity, transparency, accountability, control of power associated with tightening discipline towards the State and public officials, civil servants; Continue to step up the fight against corruption, wastefulness, bureaucracy, crime and social evils”(9). In order to concretize the Party's guidelines on building, perfecting the socialist rule of law state and enhancing its effectiveness and efficiency, in the coming time, it is crucial to focus on implementing the following key tasks:

First of all, it is necessary to be unified in awareness and actions on building and perfecting the Vietnamese socialist rule of law State of the people, by the people, and for the people under Party leadership and considers this the top task of the Party in political system reform. Clearly define the roles, positions, functions, tasks, and powers of state agencies in the exercise of legislative, executive, and judicial powers based on the rule of law to ensure that the state powers are unified and strictly controlled with clear assignment and coordination among state bodies. Build a complete, timely, synchronous, unified, feasible, public, transparent, and stable legal system, take the legitimate rights and interests of people and businesses as the top priority to promote innovation. Well combine law building with law propaganda, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement, inspection, and handling of law violations.

Second, it is required to renovate the organization and operation of the National Assembly as the highest representative body of the people, the highest organ of state power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Improve its quality and efficiency, promote democracy, rule of law, professionalism in performing its legislative function and deciding significant national affairs, and exercising its supreme supervision. Continue to renew and improve the quality of the legislative process, perfect the country's development institutions, especially the socialist-oriented market economy institutions; respect, ensure and protect human rights and citizens' rights; perfect the mechanism to protect the Constitution, monitor, take a vote of confidence for members elected or approved by the National Assembly or the People's Council; respect regulations on eligibility and structure of delegates, improve the quality of delegates through a reasonable increase in the number of full-time delegates and reduce the number of delegates working in the executive and judicial agencies. Establish a synchronous connection between the supervision mechanism of the elected bodies with the supervision and social criticism mechanism of the Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, and the people.

Third, due consideration should be given to building a democratic, law-governed, professional, modern, pure, strong, open, and transparent public administration to serve the people. Continue to renovate the Government bodies so that they become compact and effective; fully bring into play the positions, roles, functions, tasks, and powers of the executive body of the National Assembly - the highest state administrative agency, give a top priority to macro-management, institutional building, and strategy formulation; strengthen the capacity to make accurate predictions, analyze and propose policies making based on scientific data and realities in the new circumstance. Promote decentralization, clearly define responsibilities between the Government and ministries, departments, and branches; between the central government and localities; remove the overlapping of functions, tasks, and powers, ensure centralized and unified state management. Focus on reforming wages and incentives; build a contingent of cadres and civil servants who are compact and strong, ethical, competent, prestigious, and creative to serve the people and country.

Fourth, adequate attention should be given to building a professional, modern, just, fair, strict, and honest Vietnamese judiciary to serve the Fatherland and the people. Successfully perform the responsibility of protecting justice, human rights, and citizens' rights as well as protecting the socialist regime, the national interests, and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals. Renovate the organization, improve the quality, effectiveness, and reputation of the people's courts, people's procuracies, investigation agencies, judgment enforcement agencies, and other bodies involved in judicial activities, timely and legally settle disputes and lawsuits; effectively prevent and fight against criminal activities and law violations.

Fifth, it is needful to improve the organization of local government following specific characteristics of rural, urban, or maritime areas or special administrative-economic units as prescribed by law; implement and review pilot projects launched on urban administration in order to build and operate smart, modern, compact, efficient and effective urban governance models. Renovate the organizational apparatus and operating mechanism of the Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations at all levels. Reform decentralization and budget governance through devolution of financial resources to local government to improve its autonomy while ensuring the leading role of the central budget.

Sixth, it is essential to promote the role and overall power of the entire political system and the great national unity bloc, the people's armed forces as the core in defending the Fatherland and the socialist rule of law State against the plots and activities of hostile forces from inside and outside, protecting internal political security, maintaining national security, social order, and safety, to build a disciplinary, safe society. Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state management in terms of security. Firmly defend the ideological foundation, and guidelines of the Party, fight and refute false, distorting, and hostile views on the nature, model, goals of socialist rule of law Vietnamese state. Prevent and repel deterioration in political ideology, morality, lifestyle, and internal “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” manifestations; resolutely and persistently fight against corruption through training cadres and party members to conduct ethical behaviors, professional working style, do “self-examination, self-correction”, “self-criticism and criticism”.

____________________________________________

(1), (2) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works,  National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, vol. 6, pp. 232, 397

(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, ibid, vol. 13, p. 10

(4), (5), (6) Nguyen Phu Trong: “Some theoretical and practical issues about socialism and the way to socialism in Vietnam”, Communist Review, No. 966, May 2021, pp. 10, 9, 9

(7), (8) Documents of the 13th National Congress,  National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, vol. I, pp. 71, 89

(9) Documents of the 13th National Congress, ibid, vol. I, p. 118


Source: Communist review online, May 26, 2022

To Lam

Prof. Dr., General, Politburo Member, Secretary of the Central Public Security Party Committee, Minister of Public Security

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