General Secretary as President is an objective requirement

Tuesday, 2018-10-23 15:39:04
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The National Assembly votes on a new president on the morning of October 23. (Photo: Duy Linh)
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NDO - The 2013 Constitution affirms that Vietnam is a law-governed socialist state of the People, by the People and for the People; and state power is organised under the principle that “the state power is unified and delegated to state agencies which coordinate with and control one another in the exercise of the legislative, executive and judicial powers” (Article 2). Therefore the Central Committee’s nomination of the Party General Secretary as a candidate to be elected President is the manifestation and implementation of the rule of law principle in organising power of the law-governed socialist state in Vietnam.

First of all, after being elected President by the National Assembly, the Party General Secretary will become a person elected by not only the confidence of the Party members but also the confidence of the people through representative democracy. This is a factor that ensures the reputation and legitimacy for the Party leader, enhancing political power and state power - a requirement of the rule of law principle in organising power.
Secondly, after being elected President by the National Assembly, the Party General Secretary will become a person subject to power control by not only the Party members and Party organisation but also the people represented by the National Assembly. As such, the Party leader is not only held politically accountable before the Party organisation and Party members but is also held legally accountable before the National Assembly - an institution elected by the people to exercise state power, delegated and entrusted by the people and supervised by the people.

Under the 2013 Constitution, the President is subject to oversight by the people through delegating power to the National Assembly to undertake the following tasks and powers: After being elected, the President shall take an oath of loyalty to the Fatherland, the People and the Constitution (Clause 7, Article 70). The President is subject to the National Assembly’s supreme oversight over the observance of the Constitution, laws and resolutions of the National Assembly (Clause 2, Article 70). The President submits his or her work report to the National Assembly, which in turn reviews the President’s work report (Clause 2, Article 70). The National Assembly conducts votes of confidence on the President (Clause 8, Article 70). The President’s documents that contravene the Constitution, laws or resolutions of the National Assembly are annulled by the National Assembly (Clause 10, Article 70).

Therefore, there are no grounds to worry that the concentration of power in a person who is both Party General Secretary and President will lead to misuse and abuse of power. On the contrary, the Party leader who is also President will become a person subject to the power control mechanisms of both the Party and the State as stipulated by the Constitution. This is a content of the rule of law principle in organising power.

Thirdly, under the 2013 Constitution, the President has the tasks and powers which the General Secretary, as leader of the ruling party, must hold such as: To propose the National Assembly to elect, relieve from duty or remove from office the Vice President, Prime Minister; and based on resolutions of the National Assembly, to appoint, relieve from duty or dismiss Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and other members of the Government (Clause 2, Article 88); To propose the National Assembly to elect, relieve from duty or remove from office the Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court or Procurator General of the Supreme People's Procuracy; and, based on resolutions of the National Assembly, to appoint, relieve from duty or dismiss Judges of the Supreme People's Court; to appoint, relieve from duty or dismiss Deputy Chief Justices of the Supreme People's Court… (Clause 3, Article 88); To assume command of the people’s armed forces and hold the office of the Chairperson of the National Defence and Security Council (Clause 5, Article 88).

As such, the above-mentioned tasks and powers entrusted to the President by the people are also the tasks and powers held by the General Secretary of the ruling party. Organising power in which one person is primarily responsible for a task aims to prevent mutual reliance and dependence. A lean, fast-performing, efficient and effective apparatus is a requirement of rule of law in building a law-governed socialist state in Vietnam.

Fourthly, today’s international relations are mainly relations between states. Depending on the political system of a country, leaders of political parties all become presidents or prime ministers after winning in the national elections.

In a law-governed state that fulfils the requirements and abides by the contents of the rule of law principle in organising power, it is an objective inevitable requirement to have the General Secretary of the Party elected by the National Assembly to hold the post of the President.