Preparations key to ensure smooth election day: official

May, 21/2021 - 20:30
Secretary-General of the National Assembly (NA) and Chairman of the NA’s office Bùi Văn Cường told the Vietnam News Agency about preparations for the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021 - 2026 tenure as the election day is nearing amid the COVID-19 outbreak

 

Secretary-General of the National Assembly (NA) and Chairman of the NA’s office Bùi Văn Cường. VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

Secretary-General of the National Assembly (NA) and Chairman of the NA’s office Bùi Văn Cường told the Vietnam News Agency about preparations for the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021 - 2026 tenure as the election day is nearing amid the COVID-19 outbreak

What do you think about the preparations ministries, agencies and localities have made for the election?

Ministries, agencies and localities have been preparing for the election lawfully and all are ready for the election. Their preparation work strictly followed Politburo's Directive, laws and regulations as well as National Election Council's Resolution.

At a national online meeting on the election early this week, the National Election Council applauded the co-operation and determination of Party Committees, People’s Councils, People’s Committees, Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committees and Election Commissions at all levels to fulfil the twin tasks – ensuring socio-economic development and disease prevention and control – plus to prepare for the election.

Regarding candidate affairs, localities timely solved issues that relate to the withdrawal of candidates following the National Election Council’s Resolution No 559.

Localities have also implemented comprehensive measures to ensure security, order and healthcare services at polling stations.

They also launched initiatives and diversified communications work to better tell voters about the election. For example, information about eligible voters was publicised on the Zalo social network and hotlines were opened for voters to update/add/correct information as required. Training classes were offered to polling workers. Online meetings between candidates and voters were held amid the complicated developments of COVID-19.

However, there remained difficulties in preparing for the election. Some localities faced difficulties in reviewing and identifying the number of voters due to changes in migrant workers number.

Some localities were not flexible in organising meetings between candidates and voters and not active in making use of mass media in candidates’ election campaigns.

In election communication campaigns for ethnic groups, for example, materials in the ethnic groups’ languages were still limited.

Some localities were reportedly slow or not active to solve voters’ complaints and denunciations.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Election Council issued documents directing election preparations and disease prevention and control. How have localities implemented such directions?

The COVID-19 pandemic is developing in a complex and unpredictable manner across the world and in Việt Nam as well. Organisations, agencies and localities have to concentrate on preparing for the election and fighting the disease.

Together with the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, Government and Việt Nam Fatherland Front, the National Election Council offered detailed directions to help ensure the success of the election, safety for voters and minimise risks of COVID-19.

In general, all localities have strictly implemented the directions. Meetings between candidates and voters were held safely per disease prevention and control regulations.

Before the meetings, candidates were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and they strictly followed requirements relating to disease prevention and control. Localities chose to conduct online meetings and make use of mass media during election campaigns. They also prepared proper facilities for election day.

Some localities have to prepare to ensure safety for the election amid complicated COVID-19 developments. For example, Hà Nội has created specific plans for the election in locked-down areas or concentrated quarantine areas.

In HCM City, the city’s Election Commission required seats for voters at polling stations to keep a safe distance. The number of people present at a polling station at the same time must not exceed half of the total number of people the place can host.

In the northern province of Bắc Giang, small groups of voters will be allowed to enter the polling stations at a specific time to avoid large gatherings.

What do local Election Commissions have to do to make election day “a festive day” for people?

They still have much work to do for the election day on Sunday, May 23.

First, they will continue to implement 11 groups of key tasks that National Assembly chairman and head of the National Election Council Vương Đình Huệ pointed out at a national online meeting on May 18.

Secondly, the commissions must direct and supervise the preparation and organisation of the election at all levels so voters could feel safe and excited about electing.

As the COVID-19 is spreading, polling stations in disease-hit localities should have simple but solemn opening remarks. Poll workers are also responsible to remind voters to strictly follow disease prevention and control measures including wearing face masks and keeping a safe distance. Voters are suggested not to flock to polling stations at the same time.

Poll workers, especially those working at quarantine areas or locked-down areas, must strictly carry out disease prevention and control measures to avoid the risk of infections.

Thirdly, election commissions must closely eye the disease’s development in localities, particularly those home to industrial, economic or processing zones so they can have timely responses to arising problems.

Fourthly, the commissions need to arrange staff to oversee the election at polling stations during election day, which is expected to help ensure a safe and lawful election.

Fifth, the commissions also need to arrange staff at their offices to tackle arising problems and timely report to the National Election Council.

In addition, the provinces’ election commissions must closely co-operate with the local army and police to ensure security and order during the election. 

Thorough preparations could help make election day become a day of happiness, democracy and safety for all people. VNS

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