Vietnam is a communist one-party state. The 1992 Constitution states that the Vietnamese Communist Party (Dang Cong San Viet Nam) is the leading force in the state and society, but at the same time emphasizes that the party is also subject to the law. In practice, the Communist Party controls the entire state apparatus, down to the village level.
The party is led by a central committee and a political office, with the party’s secretary general as the highest leader. Within the Politburo there is a smaller executive committee with eight members. The major policy guidelines are drawn up at the party’s congress every five years. The most recent was held in 2016 (see Current policy).
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Vietnam for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The Communist Party is part of the mass organization Fosterland, which also includes the National Liberation Front (FNL), women’s and youth associations, the national organization and the official Buddhist and Catholic movements. The front of the country is to act as a bridge between the party and the population and is a recruitment base for the party. The front also decides which candidates may stand in parliamentary elections.
The country’s legislative parliament, the National Assembly (Quoc Hoi), is elected in general elections every five years. In 2016, 500 members were elected; only 25 of them were not members of the Communist Party (however, they were approved by the Party). The National Assembly has long lacked real significance, but since the late 1990s has gradually increased its influence. It initiates legislative changes and policy changes. Constitutional amendments can be adopted by a two-thirds majority. The National Assembly conducts regular hearings of government members and has repeatedly criticized ministers.
Some political parties other than the Communist Party are not allowed. Oppositionists are instead gathered in exile groups, primarily in the United States and France, among journalists, in unofficial Buddhist and Christian movements, as well as in underground parties and organizations advocating democracy, such as the Vietnam Reform Party (Viet Tan) that the government has stamped terrorist. There is also a relatively small but active collection of individual organizations in the country that work on issues such as the environment, land rights, women’s status or public health. Pure human rights groups are not tolerated by the authorities.
The National Assembly formally elects the country’s president, who is also head of state and commander-in-chief. The President then appoints the Prime Minister and other Ministers, but the National Assembly has the right to dismiss the Ministers.
In fact, much of the power is gathered by three leaders: the Communist Party Secretary-General, the President and the Prime Minister. In practice, they are appointed at the Communist Party Congresses.
Short for VM by Abbreviationfinder, Vietnam is divided into 58 provinces, which in turn are divided into municipalities and districts, as well as districts in villages or districts. At the various levels, there are people-elected decision-making bodies, folk councils, who elect executive bodies, people committees. The major cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Haiphong, Can Tho and Da Nang have approximately the same status as the provinces. The provinces have their own budget and great freedom in interpreting central directives.
Former managers are sentenced to death
Two former executives at the state shipping company Vinalines are sentenced to death for embezzlement.
US Secretary of State visiting
US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Vietnam.
Vo Nguyen Giap dies
Legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap dies at the age of 102. Giap was behind the Vietnamese Communists’ decisive victory in 1954 over the French colonial army at Dien Bien Phu and the so-called têt offensive against the US forces in 1968 (see Modern History). He was later Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister.
Well-known regime critics are imprisoned
One of the country’s more prominent regime critics, the lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan, is sentenced to prison for two and a half years for tax evasion. He is also convicted of fining the equivalent of almost SEK 400,000. He denies the charges and describes the verdict as politically motivated.
Vinashin announces mass dismissal
The crisis-hit ship manufacturer Vinashin, which is undergoing reconstruction, announces that 14,000 people will be laid off. That’s more than half the workforce.
Officer sentenced to prison
A former officer in the South Vietnamese army is sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to overthrow the communist regime. Among other things, in articles and documents, he must have despised the country’s leader and spread misrepresentations about the regime. In collaboration with the banned pro-democracy group Block 8406, he should also have tried to work for a multi-party system.
Controversial decrees are taking effect
The disputed Decree 72 enters into force, which means that a ban is imposed on using social media to discuss political issues or link to news articles (see June 2013 and Mass Media).
Sentenced to death
A sentenced prisoner is executed by a poison injection. Thus, executions are resumed after close to two years of interruption since the last arch-bushing was carried out in July 2011. The delay in switching to a more “humanitarian” execution method has been due to the EU banning the export of the needed poisons. A change in the law in May made it possible to use domestically produced chemicals.
Bloggers abort hunger strike
Blogger Nguyen Van Hai (see June 2013) cancels his hunger strike after 35 days after the Prosecutor’s Office promised to review his complaint about poor treatment in prison.
Decree prohibits information sharing
The government issues a decree prohibiting Vietnamese from using social media to share information other than that which is purely personal (see Mass Media).
Imprisoned bloggers initiate hunger strike
Blogger Nguyen Van Hai (see September 2012) initiates a hunger strike.
Government-critical bloggers are arrested
Another blogger, former government official Pham Viet Dao, is being arrested by Hanoi police for “violating democratic freedoms”. Dao has run a government-critical blog and discussed sensitive topics, such as the country’s territorial conflict with China in the South China Sea (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Low confidence in the Prime Minister
When the National Assembly holds a vote of confidence on the government, fewer than half of the members of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung give “full confidence”, while President Truong Tan Sang gets “full confidence” from over two-thirds of the assembly.
Famous journalist is arrested
A well-known journalist, Truong Duy Nhat, is arrested by police in his home in Da Nang. He is accused of having “violated democratic freedoms” with government-critical writings on his blog.
Farmer is imprisoned after eviction
A farmer is sentenced to five years in prison for attempted murder since his family forcibly tried to stop police who came to evict them from land they leased for 20 years for their fish farm. Three relatives also receive imprisonment, and two persons receive conditional punishment. The case attracts considerable attention and the farmer, who has invested in the farm and is indebted, receives great popular support (see also Agriculture and Fishing). A day later, a former civil servant is sentenced to 2.5 years in prison as responsible for the destruction of the farmer’s home. Four other officials are sentenced to conditional punishment.
Mass trial against regime critics
In a new mass trial in a court in Phu Yen Province, 22 people are sentenced to between 10 years and life in prison for trying to overthrow the regime. According to the judgment, a small group of regime critics must have formed an ecotourism company that has in fact served as a front for overthrowing activities. According to the indictment, those convicted must have written regime-critical texts.
Thirteen convicted for contact with exile group
A court in Nghe An province sentenced 13 dissidents to prison for between 3 and 13 years, as well as several years in house arrest, after being found guilty of attempting to overthrow the communist regime. Most of those convicted are Catholics and some are bloggers and students. According to the court, they must have had contacts with the banned exile group Viet Tan (see Political system).