In the midst of a dangerous epidemic threatening the lives of millions of Vietnamese people, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) headed by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is still preparing for its 13th Congress.
The Covid-19 pandemic was an event that had a lot of impact on the “political health” of the ruling party when it has about 10 months to prepare for the 13th National Congress, a number of Vietnamese observers and political analysts have told BBC News Vietnamese.
On March 12, from Saigon, lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan, former standing vice chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Office, made a comment: “I watched the situation in the city and in the South preparing for the 13th Congress starting from the grassroots level- the communes and wards were conducting their congresses just like normal, but until now, we still have not seen the political report of the party’s Central Committee, that is the core report, the central report, has not yet been sent to the grassroots level.
“As for the grassroots organizations which normally takes place and is scheduled to be at the district and city level, but congresses of the provincial level would have thousands of delegates, at that time if the Covid-19 epidemic still occurs, it is unknown if they will be delayed or not. Until now, this 13th Congress is scheduled to take place in January 2021, around that time, at the beginning of the first quarter, if nothing changes.”
“But if there are outstanding issues, this conference, along with the usual issues such as political reports, socio-economic reports, party building work reports, will have other serious issues including land ownership, which is very a hot topic, the critical point in which something very painful happens such as the Dong Tam case and many other localities such as in Vinh Long, and other localities.”
Political observers in Vietnam made many practical observations on the personnel arrangement of the 13th Congress of the Communist Party
“Next, the interesting question is how to exercise democracy in Vietnam? Especially democracy in the party.”
“Now, this congress still has an election for the leadership in the party according to Decision 214, because the superiors appoint candidates for the leader positions of the organizations of the lowver level and the congress limits the right to stand for election and to vote, although the right to stand for election and to vote has been in the party charter and party rules without being changed.”
“As for the age matter, the current regulations state that Politburo members over 65 years have to retire, with some exception, for example, General Secretart Nguyen Phu Trong who is over 70. So there is unclear who will stay [in the Politburo] and who will go.”
Clues in personnel and guidelines?
From Hanoi on the same day, Dr. Ha Hoang Hop, a a senior political researcher at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore – Singapore), made a comment to the BBC right before the Round Table about the party’s personnel planning and guidelines. He said:
“Well, last year it was said that certain individuals are planned to take some specific positions but until now, nothing has been changed so the changes would be seen in the congress only.”
“But according to the plan, the rumor, everyone knows, for example, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan are eligible to be candidates for the general secretary.”
“Mr. Pham Minh Chinh is eligible for the National Assembly’s chairman while Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue is eligible to be nominated for the position of prime minister.”
“But this is just a rumor while in the reality, Vietnamese politics is extremely complicated, so we have to wait for last minute.”
Regarding the party’s policies and guidelines that may take place at the 13th Congress, analyst Ha Hoang Hop made a comment: “There have been clues since the 9th Congress for restructuring state-owned enterprises through equitization and through development, as well as expanding forms of ownership and development of private enterprises.
“Then in the 11th and 12th congress, that direction is still there, but there are some people who reserved the direction of considering the state-owned enterprise as the mainstream, then I hope that there will be some improvement in the 13th congress. That makes the SOE sector smaller, but it contributes more, makes it more profitable.
And at the same time, the non-state sector should be develop well. This is a relatively visible direction, and it is difficult to expect any change in political institution.
The “conservative ideology” continues to prevail?
Commenting on the Fifth Round Table in the context that Vietnam is facing the Covid-19 epidemic with many concerns and questions raised in the recent public and social opinion, Assoc. TS Pham Quy Tho, a public policy analyst from the Ministry of Planning and Investment said: “Firstly, we have to verify how the planned officials in our recent (Vietnam) are reflected in the public opinion and need to verify.
Secondly about this epidemic, we should not be subjective nor panic, because as experience shows it is impossible to follow China, but now looking at Italy, we see a very high death rate compared to with the number of cases already infected, rather than 2% or 2.3%, Vietnam needs to continue to strictly control epidemiology and treatment.
Thirdly in terms of direction and politics, I think that it is still divided into two directions, one is still conservative ideology can still prevail in the next congress, it will slow down the reform process. And one direction that I think is a relatively positive market is that we have to privatize more strongly, I think that, we have to establish, we have to rewrite, we need to emphasize the aspect in the congress. Therefore, for us (Vietnam), as lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan said, is about the fundamentals of the market economy, in which especially the issue of ownership, which in general is the issue of ownership of land.
If not, then in the next term it will be very difficult, and generally according to the type of work that requires a resolution, then I think, that way of working is too old, but now. Now we have to base on reality to write, and what is not ripe or ripe already, then it is just a guide only, what is pressing in life, need to anticipate.
Also, as I see, this 13th Congress prepares a lot of strategies and visions, I think this is also a basis for us to review the previous strategies so that we can anticipate the future of the nation.
In order for it to grow, not to lag behind and head towards prosperity and be able to hold our heads high to the world in not only against epidemics, not only the strong ones in emergency situations, but also in peaceful life.
The normal development of democracy and economy goes hand in hand, I think it is the main thing that must also take this opportunity so that we can make a good vision for the country and for the people.”
Will there be ‘bright spots’ of personnel through Covid-19 case?
From his visiting place in Austin, Texas, MD Tran Tuan, policy reviewer and social assessment consultant at the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (Vusta), stated views: “I think this is a critical period, making sure that major events, such as the Dong Tam incident happened on January 9 and that this Covid-19 endemic will greatly affect the preparation, direction and personnel of the upcoming congress of the party.
In the near future there will be discussions and analyzes going in the direction of having to look back at the five points I have just summarized, including the issue called transparency and oversight, independent assessment for the operation of the system.”
Dr. Tran Tuan adds: “And so it can be seen that there will be changes to better balance the goal of sustainable development, especially in the prevention of epidemics, in globalization.
Therefore, in the coming time, it can be seen that the economy reform will no longer be a priority while foreign investment will not be given priority as in previous years.
The third point is that in terms of personnel, it is certain that through this Covid-19 case will also appear a few characters that may be brighter points, so maybe changes in personnel next time, as well as the fact that some officials made unreasonable and wasteful public spending.
Because otherwise it ‘s actually a dug out of formidable people’s faith in leadership.
So the personnel have to change over the Covid-19 incident.”
Thu Thuy from Hochiminh city – Thoibao.de