HA NOI (VNS)— Lawmakers scrutinised proposed revisions to the 1992 Constitution at their plenary sessions with a view to improving protection for human rights.
The one and a half day session was broadcast live on national radio and television.
Most National Assembly (NA) deputies agreed that while the nation has reaped historical achievements over the past 20 years since it implemented the 1992 Constitution, the document needed to be revised in light of changes that have occurred both in Viet Nam and in the world.
The NA re-affirmed that the Communist Party of Viet Nam is the vanguard and the faithful representative of the rights and interest of the working class as well as of the Vietnamese nation, acting upon Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought. The Party is the force leading the State and society.
Deputies agreed that the proposed revisions have clarified the role of the Party in relation to the State and society, but also made several suggestions about how to better explain the nature of the Party.
Deputy Doan The Cuong of northern Hung Yen Province suggested revising Article 4 of the draft to state that the Party must work under the supervision of the people and be held responsible for any policies and decisions it comes up with.
Deputy Be Xuan Truong of northern Bac Kan Province said the constitution should affirm the role of the Communist Party of Viet Nam as the country's "sole" leadership force.
Many deputies approved of chapter II, which deals with human rights and citizens' rights.
This chapter states that the State and society have a responsibility to respect, ensure and protect these rights. It also stipulates more rights in line with international treaties on human rights.
Deputy Trieu La Pham of northern Ha Giang Province said that while the constitution clearly defined the right to live, study and reside, one more right should be included: the right to own land for housing and production.
He stressed this should be considered as a fundamental human right because land disputes have been a growing problem.
Some deputies made the case that human rights should be "recognised" by the Constitution rather than "ruled," and therefore should not be compromised by authoritative bodies.
All speakers agreed that the new constitution must continue to affirm the nature and the general model of the political system and the State apparatus as stipulated in the 1992 Constitution: The Vietnamese State is a law-governed socialist state of the people, by the people, for the people; all state power belongs to the people; State power is unified with assignment and co-ordination among State agencies in exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers.
Discussing economic issues, deputy Doan The Cuong said that besides setting economic growth targets, the constitution should also require sustainable development.
Some said all economic sectors should not be listed as in the draft. Deputy Nguyen Dinh Quyen of Ha Noi said the constitution only needed a general statement that all economic sectors are vital components of the national economy and, as such, grow and co-operate equally and compete with each other under the law.
The role of State Audit was also up for debate. Many speakers considered this a powerful tool to audit financial matters of the country, to prevent and control corruption and supervise the use of the State budget.
Deputy Trinh Thi Thanh Binh of southern Ben Tre Province suggested clearly working out the legal role of the agency in relation to the NA when it came to finances.
To ensure independence in auditing operations, deputy Bui Duc Thu proposed shortening the working term of the chief of the State audit office to five years from the current seven.
The NA will continue working on Monday with a live-broadcast debate on the revised Land Law. — VNS