ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Vietnam charter change to reflect shift to market economy
Publication Date : 24-01-2013
The Vietnam government yesterday heard citizens' comments about the amendments being considered to the country's Constitution on a forum it organised on its website.
Two senior officials, Nguyen Van Phuc, vice chairman of the National Assembly Economic Committee and deputy chairman of the committee drafting the amendments, Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien, and Pham Quoc Anh, president of the VietnamLawyers' Association, were invited to the event.
Asked why the Constitution is being revised now, Lien said it has been 20 years since the last revision was made (in 1992).
The last revision six years after the adoption of the renewal process was approved at the 7th National Party Congress in June 1991, which gave top priority to economic development.
To achieve that goal, the country's political system had to be adjusted by making a seminal change, switching from a centrally planned to a market economy.
In the 20 years since the amendments were made, much progress has been achieved in different areas, including the private economy and judiciary reforms.
But many problems remain, Lien said, which is one of the key reasons for revising the Constitution.
Whatever changes are going to be made require simultaneous and political adjustments. Before 1992 there were only 93 laws and ordinances, a number that has risen to 330.
Referring to the likely amendments, Phuc said they would seek to advance the principle that the people are the masters.
This is in line with the principle that the State's power belongs to the people, and would guide the entire process of amendment, he said.
A new aspect would be the emphasis on human rights and citizens' rights.
The articles on the economy, society, culture and environment would see many changes to make sure they address the contemporary situation and ensure economic development with equality and environmental protection, he said.
Other changes would be to the rights and obligations of the legislature, executive, and judiciary sector; the relationship between government agencies and constitutional provisions on administrative/territorial units and local administrations, he said.
The autonomy of the State Audit of Vietnam, the Constitutional Council, and the National Election Council would be enshrined for the first time in the Constitution, he revealed.
There would be new provisions on the rights and obligations of the National Assembly and citizens' roles in the process of amending the Constitution.
Anh said he was most impressed with two points — the increased role of the VietnamFatherland Front in the framing of national policies, and the importance given to human rights and citizen's rights. Lien said human rights relate to the right to live, protection, wellness, and donation of body organs.
More citizens' rights would be enshrined than before, he said, including the right to establish associations and hold demonstrations.
Phuc said in the last three weeks the drafting committee has received 630 suggestions from the public, including 209 on the political system.
The comments relate to 97 out of the Constitution's 124 Articles.
The amendments will be tabled at the year-end session of the National Assembly for discussion and approve.