How does the strong outbreak of COVID-19 affect the 15th parliament election and growth?

Sign calling for people to prevent COVID-19 on the streets of Hanoi

According to the method of “the party nominate, people, elect,” the results of the 15th National Assembly election are “pre-determined” and cannot be changed, but economic growth will be reduced by the impact of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to the pandemic and managing the economy revealed the capacity of the government in “wartime,” but needed policy solutions to prepare for the “new normal.”

Strong Outbreak

The fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreaks is booming and has been described by state media as “complicated” and “dangerous.” The pandemic is believed to have started on April 27, 2021, from many “outbreaks” “surprising” for local authorities. As of the evening of May 20, there were 1,761 infections, spreading domestically in 29 provinces and cities; there were 2 more deaths and more than 50 serious patients….

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health of Vietnam, four pandemic waves have been and are breaking out in the community. Phase 1 lasted for 85 days, from January 23 to April 16, 2020, spreading in 13 provinces and cities with 100 cases, of which the first case appeared in Ho Chi Minh City from a person coming from China’s Wuhan.

Phase 2 lasted 129 days, from July 25 to December 1, 2020, in 15 provinces and cities with 554 cases, 35 deaths, the peak took place in Danang for more than 1 month from the end of July to the end of August, the first case was believed to be a patient of Danang C Hospital, but the source of infection is unknown;

The third phase lasted 57 days, from January 28 to March 25, 2021, in 15 provinces and cities with 910 cases, outbreaks mainly in Hai Duong province, accounting for 80%, from a migrant worker tested positive when returning from Japan, the source of the infection is unknown. And now is the fourth wave…

Buy vaccines

The successive outbreaks of the past year show that it will be prolonged, increasingly complex, and dangerous. The Government emphasized that the “attack” strategy, the “vaccine” solution is fundamental and sustainable, so it signed Resolution No. 9/NQ-CP on May 18, which defines the purchase of vaccines as urgent. Although belated, it has supplemented the governance with administrative directives 16, 15, and 19 on the level of the blockade and social distancing.

After each pandemic wave, lessons learned against COVID-19 are drawn to cope with the risk of a prolonged pandemic. In my opinion, an essential lesson is to overcome the achievement disease. Good success leads to complacency and subjectivity. The regime’s “advantage” in “wartime: fighting the epidemic like fighting the enemy” is overrated as “the participation of the whole political system,” “political determination,” “the right approach,” and the “consensus” of people and authorities at all levels…. causing the leaders of some localities, professional agencies to show “smug” expression and people have subjective psychology. The whole political system got involved but resources were limited, exhorted determination, but limited capacity, wartime state but people’s strength should not be and cannot last…. There have been local officials who were “ignorant” to cause an outbreak of the epidemic to be disciplined, many people who did not comply with the regulations on wearing masks, gathering were fined…

The question now is not when the pandemic will end, but when society will enter a “new normal.” In the immediate future, how is the election of the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels and economic growth affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and how is the government’s management?

Not an achievement

This fourth wave of pandemics is shading the elections of the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels, which are taking place with the date set for May 23. According to the method, “the party nominate and people elect,” the election results of the 15th National Assembly are “predetermined” and cannot be changed, but cannot be considered as “achievement.” Although, preparations such as human resource organization, security, locations, ballot boxes, list of candidates, voters… are being completed to promote as “all people’s day.” Because of the impact of the pandemic, campaigning for elections where may have moved to an online form or limited the number of people, the proposal for early elections in the blockade area is being considered …. Thus, the impact of this pandemic on this election can only be a risk of infection for those who vote. Voters need to protect themselves to avoid risk.

Elections are by the method of “the party nominates and people elect,” there is no competition, the candidates are essentially pre-determined. The “review” of personnel through three rounds of “negotiation” of the Fatherland Front – a political system agency under the leadership of the single Communist Party has “closed” the list of candidates. The representativeness of the delegates is still mainly in proportion to the central and local structure. After the 13th National Congress, the Party has “completed” high-level personnel, especially members of the Central Committee, at the 11th session of the 14th National Assembly, now appointed to “participate” in the 15th National Assembly. Three Pillars: The President, Prime Minister, and President of the National Assembly were set and they will swear to be loyal to the Party….

Difficult management

Being strongly affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, growth is likely to decline and the government’s economic management becomes difficult. Economic growth is not only important to jobs, incomes, and people’s lives but also demonstrates the legitimacy of the Party and the regime. If growth slows down, it may reduce public confidence in the ability of the government. The 13th Party Congress set a target of a 6.5 to 7% increase in the average gross domestic product (GDP) during the term (2021-2026). Policymakers are “optimistic about the outlook,” despite being cautious about the options, but the planned goal has to be realized. Moreover, they seem to be “perplexed” by the “complex” and “unusual” impact of these outbreaks.

The impact of the pandemic is slowing down the growth rate, the number of businesses going bankrupt, temporarily suspending production and business increases rapidly, leading to the number of unemployment, layoffs, and income difficulties, life turned upside down. The number of industrial parks and export processing zones, which generate large revenue for growth, in the provinces of Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Hai Duong have been suspended. The winter crop during the last Lunar New Year had to be “rescued,” but farmers still suffered heavy damage and, now the litchi crop in the above provinces promises to be a bountiful harvest, but harvesting and consuming in the context of a stressful pandemic is a hot issue.

The overall impact from the pandemic is still very heavy: supply chain disruptions cause both domestic supply and demand to drop, air transport and railways are disrupted, logistics difficulties, container prices skyrocket, and shortages causing congestion, import prices of raw materials such as copper, iron, electronic chips, soybeans, animal feed… spiked, real estate “bubble,” “ghost” high inflation, enforcement slows public investment, disbursement congestion, etc. are threatening economic growth not only in the immediate future, this year but also in the next period. The stock “boom” and the wealth of billionaires and giants are “distorted” indicators of excess cash flow and policy inadequacies…

It can be said that there are a few rare bright spots in the economy, but the economic growth plan targets set by the Party and the National Assembly will probably not be achieved and must be adjusted, but must wait for the new National Assembly.

The above analysis shows that voluntariness, a characteristic of the regime, may be needed in a “wartime situation” and should only be used as an “urgent” solution. Reform policies should aim to create principles, such as privatization, expansion of business freedom, fair competition, etc. let the laws of the market economy work instead of administrative orders. For the National Assembly, it is time to change the representation and voting method so that the legislators are truly capable of “specializing” in the task of economic transformation and “red” without being held back by the sense of a dogmatic socialist system. (Translated)