Nov 7, 2012

Vietnam - NA deputies discuss constitutional change

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VietNamNet Bridge – National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung on Monday urged deputies to think hard about new amendments and supplements to the 1992 constitution.

"Changing the constitution is a crucial task," he said. "The constitution represents the will of the people, so you have to discuss it thoroughly and take people's ideas into consideration."

The amended constitution introduces a chapter embracing new, independent institutions, including a constitution council, national election council – plus the old State auditing agency.

The amended constitution occasionally merges two chapters into one. Those on the national flag, emblems, anthem, the capital, national day become one chapter on "the political institution of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam".

A chapter on "culture, education, science and technology" merges with a chapter on "economic institutions".

Delegates agreed the changes were needed to build a law-based State, to ensure people's rights, to build and protect the country – and to be active in international integration.

They also agreed that the changes would help improve the market economy.

Nguyen Van Phuc, who has worked with a committee for reforming the constitution in 1978, 1992 and again now, said institutional reform enabled a country to develop in new situations.

He said a detailed report on 20 years of applying the existing Constitution 1992 was needed before any changes were made.

He suggested clarification of such things as citizens' fundamental rights, what constitutes public ownership – and the relationship between State agencies and local bodies.

Phuc also agreed to establish a council to protect the constitution.

Deputy Huynh Minh Thien from HCM City proposed that, despite pressure from some deputies, no changes be made to article two of the present constitution which says: "All State power belongs to the people in which the foundation is the alliance between working and farmers classes and intelligentsia."

HCM City deputy Pham Khanh Phong Lan had proposed changing the words to: "All the State power belongs to the people and their foundation is national solidarity."

Lan argued that the changes would synchronise with the Party viewpoint that great national solidarity was the driving force for social development.

Like many delegates, deputy Vo Thi Dung from HCM City suggested the constitution confirm that the State economic sector continue to play a key role in the economy.

Most deputies agreed with changes to an article about human rights.

The article says "Citizens have the right to social securities. The State and society are responsible for supporting the elderly, the disabled, orphans and the poor. The State must have policies to support those who made sacrifices for their country. It must also support their families."

Hoa Binh Province deputy Nguyen Tien Sinh suggested the amended constitution confirm the task of ensuring balanced economic development among different regions in the country.

Sinh argued that although the State issued policies to support minority groups, they still suffered disadvantages in education, healthcare and infrastructure.

He also proposed that regulations on how minority people can take part in State power bodies should be made clear – and the role of the NA's Minority Council in making policies.

In the afternoon, the deputies discussed amendments to Land Law.


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