No lobbying in the upcoming 13th National Congress means past congresses unclean?

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong sworn in as State President during the National Assembly session in Hanoi on October 23, 2018.

On September 25, 2020, Vietnamnet newswire had an article on human resource renewal for the 13th National Congress. The article opened with the paragraph: “With the close direction of General Secretary cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong, the careful preparation of the Party’s personnel, the 13th Congress will be “Congress without lobbying.”

This message was repeated by Politburo member Nguyen Thien Nhan at the closing ceremony of the 16th Ho Chi Minh City Party Conference in April 2018. Speaking in front of hundreds of party members, Mr. Nhan confirmed who intended to lobby should not do it.

As a journalist who always closely follows the political situation of Vietnam, Ms. Song Chi stated that her comment on the topic “the 13th Congress without lobbying.”

At first I found it very funny. Saying the 13th Congress will be ‘Congress without lobbying’ means that the congresses from the past were with this form of corruption. The level of congress is the size of the National Assembly deputies or higher, but there is a phenomenon of lobbying, which means lobbying is a very normal thing in society.

In the past, everyone found it very common to lobby for a job in Vietnamese society, but to the point where the party congress also had a story of lobbying, the system was very rotten.

Second, how can you confirm that the 13th Congress will be without lobbying?

The same story against corruption or lobbying for positions in state and party agencies. This mechanism spawns corruption, this mechanism spawns lobbying stories. It will never be solved in the one-party regime.”

Mr. Le Van Cuong, former deputy head of the Thanh Hoa National Assembly delegation, assessed that this congress was meticulously and closely under the direction of the Central Committee as well as the Politburo. Learning from previous congresses, this congress is carefully prepared on documents and especially on human resources work. The central government has never issued as many documents related to human resource work as this time. He further analyzed:

The previous congresses have also confirmed in the reports and documents that there are signs of lobbying. I must say this vile is not from any position. Both in the document and in the public opinion, the manifestation of lobbying has developed deeply at all levels, all branches, and all fields.”

At the end of April 2020, the head of the Communist Party of Vietnam had an article affirming his determination not to let those who are accused of bad personalities get into the 13th Central Committee. Particularly, those are with political opportunities, power ambitions, corruption, factions, group interests, manifestations of wealth quickly, having many houses, lots of land, many assets without explaining their origins, themselves and their families take advantage of authority to gain illicit profits …

In an interview with RFA on this issue, Dr. Ha Hoang Hop, a political analyst, said:

Previously strong, but now it is emphasizing more because there is definitely lobbying. Lobbying with many things like that with money, my relationships, by standards … Another way of lobbying that few people understand is to follow the structure like the structure of the South, Central, North, women, youth … But it seems that the list of 205 candidates for the 13th Central Committee that the Congress holds next year does not know how to lobby and it is difficult to say to take one person out to bring the other in.”

The public opinion said that the party’s system of promotion and appointment of personnel is a complicated process, through many stages and steps, but there is the phenomenon of an elephant falling through a needle hole. Many cases of appointing relatives and relatives to senior positions cause dissatisfaction among the people but are explained as “in accordance with the right procedures.” To solve this problem, it is necessary to have a mechanism for the party members and the people to supervise human issues.

According to Mr. Le Van Cuong, the human resources work for the next congress is much different from the previous congresses:

The previous tenure did not do well in the human resource work, especially in determining the work as well as the violation at the residence, so after the election at all levels, the errors are discovered. Especially the high-ranking officials have revealed the negativity, weaknesses in ethical qualities as well as in lifestyle, especially corruption.

Over 100 high-ranking officials under the central management, including some members of the Politburo and the Central Committee, were prosecuted.

That shows the problem of planning, selection, and election in the previous term were not correct.”

As for the issue of recruiting personnel, Mr. Cuong said that now the issue of democracy in civil discussions is much better than before. Previously only a few people had opinions and the collective was just a curtain to legalize. Currently, there is democracy in discussions and decisions of members through the party’s processes and regulations, so the team that is applying will be much better and accurate.

In the 12th Plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee opening on May 1, 2020, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong affirmed that the selection of personnel for the 13th Congress is an extremely important and demanding task, requesting to be prepared according to a rigorous process and consistent schedule.

During the 2015-2020 term, in Hanoi, there are more than 4,100 party members and 59 party organizations disciplined. Specifically, more than 3,000 party members were reprimanded, 622 party members were warned, 72 people were dismissed and 361 party members were expelled. As for the party organization, 43 were reprimanded and 16 warned.

This is the number given at the review of the inspection and supervision of the Hanoi Party Committee for the 2015-2020 term in the morning of September 22.

In July 2019, at the 16th session of the Central Steering Committee on anti-corruption, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong stated that more than 100 party organizations and about 8,000 party members were disciplined in the first half of 2019. (Translated)