Viet Nam set to vote for new parliament

Update: May, 20/2011 - 09:18
People take part in a parade in Hoang Mai District in Ha Noi to promote the coming elections. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung

People take part in a parade in Hoang Mai District in Ha Noi to promote the coming elections. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung

HA NOI — Voters from across Viet Nam are preparing to cast their ballots for members of parliament and People's Committees on Sunday.

Polls would be open for 12 hours beginning at seven on Sunday morning and voters would cast their choices for 500 representatives to the 13th National Assembly and over 300,000 members of local People's Councils, said General Secretary of the Election Council Pham Minh Tuyen.

Votes would be counted on Sunday night, he said.

"Preparations for the day have been ongoing with thoughtful steps involving people from the Central level down to the local level," said Tuyen in an interview with Vietnam News Agency.

He also said voters in all localities had been well-informed of the election's importance, procedures, their rights and duties via a diverse array of communication efforts. They also received information about all of the candidates.

Inspection and supervision to ensure a smooth election will be implemented in all constituencies, which consist of about 91,000 electoral units nation-wide.

The latest reports as of yesterday from localities revealed that everything is on track for election day, which is commonly known as a "Festival for the entire nation."

More than 7,300 voters from six mountainous and isolated communes in Minh Hoa and Bo Trach districts in the central province of Quang Binh completed early election procedures yesterday.

Most of the voters were from the Bru, Van Kieu and Chut ethnic groups.

"Everything went fine. Procedures were carried out in a democratic, legal, safe and efficient manner," said Chairman of the Bo Trach People's Committee, Phan Van Gion.

An early election was held in these areas because travel can be difficult, particularly during the rainy season.

In the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) province of Kon Tum, military officers and soldiers have been mobilised to work with local authorities to prepare for the election.

Soldiers spoke with local ethnic minority residents in their mother tongue to spread the word about the election, said officer Le Phuoc Tan.

Additional health workers have also been dispatched to commune level clinics to support local medical services during the day.

Head of Kon Tum Health Department Nguyen Thi Ven said all physicians and nurses would work around the clock to serve voters in the case of an emergency.

A Vietnam News Agency correspondent reported that residents in upland communes in the midland province of Phu Tho were eager for election day.

In Yen Son, a cash-strapped and far-flung commune in Thanh Son District, lists of candidates were posted several days before the election.

The district's People's Committee chairman Dinh Ky Thi was upbeat about the election.

"Candidates for this term are younger but hold higher levels of education than those in the previous one. Female candidates account for 34 per cent," he said.

Voter Dinh Van Tai from Tan Lap Commune – the district's furthest commune – said: "We hope they [candidates] will help secure more funds to improve roads, energy supplies and waterworks in our villages."

As regulated, a series of 14 day-long meetings between voters and candidates wrapped up on Wednesday throughout the nation.

Deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Nguyen Van Pha said that most of the meetings were "lively, frank and constructive."

In response to voter concerns about candidates keeping their campaign promises after they were elected, Pha admitted that there were no specific regulations which held elected officials accountable for keeping their promises.

"Voters have right to ask authorised bodies to evaluate candidate responsibilities in post-election meetings if they find anything they are not pleased with," Pha said.

Elections to the National Assembly and local People's Council take place every five years but they are usually not scheduled concurrently as they are this year.

New National Assembly members will convene their first session 60 days after the election at the latest, while People's Councils will convene within 30-45 days. — VNS


History of National Assembly elections

The election of deputies to the first National Assembly for the 1946-1960 term took place on January 6, 1946 with 403 elected deputies. Over 14 years of operation, the first NA considered and adopted two important documents: the Constitution in 1946 and the Constitution in 1959 and 11 laws and 50 resolutions on economic and cultural restoration, reform and development and consolidation of the nation's independence.

- A total of 453 deputies were elected to the second NA for the 1960-1964 term on May 8, 1960. During this term, the NA brought into play its important role in harnessing human and material strengths for building socialism in the north and the struggle for southern liberation and national unification.

- The election of deputies to the third NA (1964-1971) was held on April 26, 1964 with 453 elected deputies. The third NA held only seven sessions over the period of seven years due to the war. The NA Standing Committee held 95 sessions with the adoption of many resolutions on political, economic and external relations issues and administration and personnel work.

- Vietnamese voters elected 420 deputies to the fourth NA (1971-1975) on April 11, 1971. During the term, the NA approved the resolution on signing the agreement on the end of the war and the restoration of peace in Viet Nam.

- A total of 424 deputies were elected to the fifth NA (1975-1976) on April 6, 1975. The fifth NA adopted a resolution ratifying the result of the national unification consultative conference, opening a new development period in a united Viet Nam.

- The election of deputies to the sixth NA (1976-1981), the first NA of a unified Viet Nam, was held on April 25, 1976 with 492 elected deputies. During the five-year term, the NA issued many important resolutions, including changing the country's name from the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the name of Sai Gon to HCM City and adopting the Constitution in 1980.

- Vietnamese voters nationwide elected 496 deputies to the seventh NA (1981-1987) on April 26, 1981. This was the first time the NA issued a Penal Code and intensified supervision and its role in deciding issues of national importance.

- With the election of 496 deputies on April 19, 1987, the eighth NA (1987-1992) was considered the NA of the first period of the nation's comprehensive renovation cause set by the sixth Party Congress. The NA issued many important laws, including the Law on Foreign Investment in Viet Nam (1987) and the Law on Private Enterprises (1990).

- The ninth NA election (1992-1997) was held on July 19, 1992 with 395 elected deputies. During this term, 36 laws and codes and 43 ordinances were issued, creating legal foundations for a stable and favourable environment for socio-economic development to bring into play people's rights and enhance diplomatic activities.

- With the election of 450 deputies on July 20, 1997, the tenth NA (1997-2002) continued to improve legislative work, speed up supervision work and make decisions on national issues.

- The election of deputies to the eleventh NA (2002-2007) was held on May 19, 2002 with 498 elected deputies and the number of voters casting their ballots reached 99.73 per cent, the highest so far.

- The 12th NA (2007-2011) – the NA in the period of promoting the renewal cause, national industrialisation and modernisation and international economic integration – has 493 delegates representing people from all walks of life.