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Essential and imperative issues in the Draft amendments to the 1992 Constitution (*)
4/12/2013 21:35' Send Print
Nguyen Sinh Hung, Member of the Party Politburo, Chairman of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Picture: tapchicongsan.org.vn

Implementing the policy of the Party on studying, amending and supplementing the 1992 Constitution, right at its first session, the 8th National Assembly issued a resolution on amending and supplementing the 1992 Constitution and decided to establish the Committee on Drafting Amendments to the 1992 Constitution. With prompt, serious and responsible working spirit, the Drafting Committee reviewed the implementation of Constitution and submitted the report on the Constitution review to the National Assembly for its initial opinions on the Draft Amendments to the 1992 Constitution. At the 4th session, the National Assembly decided to make public the Draft Amendments to the 1992 Constitution, which had been revised and accommodated ideas of members of the National Assembly for public consultation.

Building on the review of the implementation the 1992 Constitution and relevant laws, based on the content orientation of the Platform for nation construction during the transitional period towards socialism (supplemented and developed in 2011) and other documents of the Party, inheriting the 1992 Constitution and previous constitutions, the Drafting Committee has identified 9 fundamental cross-cutting contents to be revised throughout chapters and articles of the Draft Amendments to the 1992 Constitution. These are essential and imperative issues in amending the 1992 Constitution.

First, amending the 1992 Constitution is to continue institutionalizing and consolidating the policy of promoting socialist democracy, ensuring that all state power belongs to the people. This content is specifically presented in articles of the Draft Amendments to the 1992 Constitution, especially the Preface and Chapter I: “Political System”. Accordingly, the Preface is revised to be more general, condense and concise about national traditions and history, nation, constitutional history, revolutionary missions in the new period, nation-building goals and aspirations of the people for the promulgation of and amendments to the Constitution. Regarding “Political System”, the Draft Amendments clarify the leading role of Communist Party of Viet Nam; the point of view on mastery of the people in the direction that the people exercise the state power through direct democracy and representative institutions and other agencies of the State. The Draft Amendments supplement and develop the principle “the state power is united with division, coordination and control among state bodies in exercising legislative, executive and judicial power” in keeping with the Platform for national construction during the transitional period towards socialism (supplemented and developed in 2011).

Second, amending the 1992 Constitution is to continue promoting great national unity, mobilize social forces for nation construction and development. Fully grasping this standpoint, the Draft Amendments keep on confirming and expressing more clearly the ideology of promotion of great national unity, which regards great national unity as a significant driving force and source of strength to build up, protect and develop the country in the Preface and particular chapters, and articles of the Constitution. The Draft Amendments do not make any change to the parts on the Viet Nam Fatherland Front and Labour Union in the 1992 Constitution but supplement and clarify the role of the Fatherland Front, Labour Union and other political and social organizations to encourage people to exercise their mastery, represent and protect legal and legitimate interests of the people, care for the interests of the people and fulfil their role as social supervisors and critics.

Third, amending the 1992 Constitution is to continue to confirm and clarify the leading position, role and responsibility of the Party towards the State and society. The Draft Amendments detail the nature and leading role of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, which is the vanguard of the working class, as well as of the labouring people and Vietnamese nation. The Party makes Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh ideology its ideological foundation. The Party is the leading force of the State and society. The Party is closely associated with the people, serves the people, is subject to the supervision of the people and is responsible for its decisions before the people. Party organizations and members operate within the framework of Constitution and legislation.

Fourth, amending the 1992 Constitution is to continue promoting human factor, showing more profoundly the viewpoint on human right protection and respect, and ensuring the implementation of basic rights and obligation of citizens. Accordingly, the Draft Amendments revise and complement and restructure Chapter V: “Basic rights and duties of citizen” of the 1992 Constitution into Chapter II: “Human rights, basic rights and duties of citizen” which follows Chapter I: “Political System” in order to reaffirm the important value and role of human rights and rights of citizen in the Constitution. The Draft Amendments incorporate all articles about human rights and civil rights of other chapters to Chapter II; clarify human rights, civil rights, the responsibility of the State and society in respecting, assuring and protecting human rights and civil rights; prescribes that civil rights are closely connected to civil obligations. The Draft Amendment go on to assert and clarify basic civil rights and duties in the 1992 Constitution; add a number of new rights which are the result of the past 30 years of renovation in the country. These rights conform to international treaties on human rights of which the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is a signatory. They include right to life, right to donate tissues, human organs and bodies, imprescriptible right on private life, right to enjoy cultural values, right to live in healthy environment, etc. Besides, the Draft Amendments rearrange the articles into groups of rights to ensure the integrity between human rights and civil rights.

Fifth, amendments to the 1992 Constitution is to continue building and perfecting the socialist-oriented market economy, developing culture, society, education, science, technology and environment protection. In concretizing this issue, the Draft Amendments institutionalize Party positions as determined in the Platform on national construction during the transitional period to socialism (supplemented and developed in 2011) and Party documents on economic development, culture, society, education, science, technology and environment protection; clarifies the nature, economic model and management role of the State in the socialist-oriented market economy, ownership, land and right to freely doing business, etc. In addition, the Draft Amendments stipulate overall but oriented contents on society, culture, education, science, technology and environment protection. Concrete issues are regulated by laws.

Sixth, amending to the 1992 Constitution is to continue defending the socialist Viet Nam. The Draft Amendments specify that defending the socialist Viet Nam is an important task of the entire Party, people, army and also the political system and must be reflected in all aspects of politics, economy, culture, national defense, security and foreign affairs. The Draft Amendments confirm and clarify the key role of people’s armed force in defending the country, the association of diplomatic tasks with national defense and security in national construction, safeguard of independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, implementation of international duties and participation in keeping regional and world peace.

Seventh, amending the 1992 Constitution is to continue building and perfecting the law-governed socialist state of Viet Nam. Accordingly, the Draft Amendments inherit the essence and model of state apparatus of the 1992 Constitution; institutionalize Party viewpoints on building law-governed state; clarify the principle of division, coordination and control among state bodies in exercising legislative, executive and judicial power; specify the functions of legislative, executive and judicial bodies and supplement a number of independent institutions such as Constitutional Committee (if Option 2 is chosen), the National Election Committee and State Audit.

Eighth, amending the 1992 Constitution is to ensure active international integration. Accordingly, the foreign policies are revised and supplemented to better conform to the new development which affirm that the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam consistently follows the independent, self-reliant, peaceful, friendly, cooperative and development foreign policies and Viet Nam is a reliable partner and an responsible member of the international community.

Ninth, amending the legislative technique and constitutional revision process is to ensure the validity, stability and sustainability of the Constitution. The Draft Amendments continues to uphold that the Constitution is the basic law of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam of highest legal validity and all other legal documents must be compliant with the Constitution. The Draft Amendments supplement and regulate that every constitutional violation shall be punished.

Constitution is an important political and legal document, a factor that ensures political-social stability and national sovereignty and shows democratic and progressive nature of the State and the regime. Thus, amending the Constitution is an extremely important issue of the country. There is a need to promote patriotism, mastery of the people, participation and contribution of wisdom by people of all strata, experts, scientists, branches and levels so that the revised Constitution represents the will and aspirations of the people and meet demands for national construction, defense and development in the new period./.

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(*) Published on the Communist Review, Issue No 851 (September 2013)

Nguyen Sinh HungMember of the Party Politburo Chairman of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam