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A new state constitution was approved in April 1992, reaffirming the central role of the Communist Party of Vietnam in politics and society, and outlining government reorganization and increased economic freedom. Though Vietnam remains a one-party state, adherence to ideological orthodoxy has become less important than economic development as a national priority.
The most important powers within the Vietnamese Government--in addition to the Communist Party--are the executive agencies created by the 1992 constitution: the offices of the president and the prime minister. The Vietnamese President, presently Tran Duc Luong, functions as head of state but also serves as the nominal commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Council on National Defense and Security. The Prime Minister of Vietnam, presently Phan Van Khai, heads a cabinet currently composed of four deputy prime ministers and the heads of 31 ministries and commissions, all confirmed by the National Assembly.
Notwithstanding the 1992 Constitution's reaffirmation of the central role of the Communist Party, the National Assembly, according to the Constitution, is the highest representative body of the people and the only organization with legislative powers. It has a broad mandate to oversee all government functions. Once seen as little more than a rubber stamp, the National Assembly has become more vocal and assertive in exercising its authority over lawmaking, particularly in the recent years. However, the National Assembly is still subject to party direction. About 80% of the deputies in the National Assembly are party members. The assembly meets twice yearly for 7-10 weeks each time; elections for members are held every 5 years. There is a separate judicial branch, but it is relatively weak. Overall, there are few lawyers and trial procedures are rudimentary.
The present 15-member Politburo, elected in April 2001 and headed by Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, determines government policy, and its nine-person Secretariat oversees day-to-day policy implementation. Although there has been some effort to discourage membership in overlapping party and state positions, this practice continues. Four--Phan Van Khai, Nguyen Tan Dung, Le Minh Huong, and Pham Van Tra--of the Politburo members concurrently hold high positions in the government. In addition, the Party's Central Military Commission, which is composed of select Politburo members and additional military leaders, determines military policy.
A Party Congress, comprised of 1,168 delegates at the Ninth Party Congress in April 2001, meets every 5 years to set the direction of the party and the government. The 150-member Central Committee, which was elected by the Party Congress, usually meets at least twice a year.
- conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
- conventional short form: Vietnam
- local long form: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam
- local short form: Viet Nam
- abbreviation: SRV
Government type: Communist state
Main article: Provinces of Vietnam
Vietnam is divided into fifty-nine provinces (tỉnh, singular and plural):
An Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Cao Bang, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Hai Duong, Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hoa Binh, Hau Giang, Hung Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc, Yen Bai.
There are also five municipalities (thủ đô, singular and plural) existing at provincial level:
Independence: 2 September 1945 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 2 September (1945)
Constitution: 15 April 1992
Legal system: based on communist legal theory and French civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Head of government: Prime Minister Phan Van Khai (since 25 September 1997); First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan DUNG (since 29 September 1997); Deputy Prime Ministers Nguyen Cong TAN (since 29 September 1997), Nguyen Manh CAM (since 29 September 1997), and Pham Gia KHIEM (since 29 September 1997)
The General Secretary of the Communist party is Nong Duc Manh.
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister and ratification of the National Assembly
Elections: president elected by the National Assembly from among its members for a five-year term; election last held 25 September 1997 (next to be held when National Assembly meets following legislative elections in NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by the prime minister
Election results: Tran Duc LUONG elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Quoc-Hoi (450 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 20 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)
Election results: percent of vote by party - CPV 92%, other 8% (the 8% are not CPV members but are approved by the CPV to stand for election); seats by party - CPV or CPV-approved 450
Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court, chief justice is elected for a five-year term by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president
Political parties and leaders: only party - Communist Party of Vietnam or CPV [Le Kha PHIEU, general secretary]
International organization participation: ACCT, APEC, AsDB, ASEAN, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)
Flag description: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center
- See also : Vietnam