Is Vietnam entering period of political turmoil?

Article on VOA Vietnamese website

On January 23, 2023, VOA Vietnamese had an article titled “Vietnam is having political instability at the top, insecurity and inactivity at all levels?”

According to the article, “The fight against corruption in Vietnam, also known as ‘burning furnace,’ has been leading to unrest and crisis in the upper-class politics, Dr. Ha Hoang Hop and Professor Nguyen Dinh Cong make observations to VOA.”

Two intellectuals also commented that other consequences of ‘burning furnace’ are panic and fear in all levels of the state apparatus, leading to the ‘not positive’ mentality, ‘not wanting to work, don’t dare to work.’ That situation is also talked about by many people on social networks, according to VOA’s observations.”

Previously, on January 17, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam decided to let Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc resign from all positions, and on January 18, the National Assembly of Vietnam voted for Mr. Phuc to resign as state president.

VOA commented, “Receiving the above information, while many people rejoice, there are also many others expressing on social networks that the more disciplinary cases, arrests of officials, the more the atmosphere in the country becomes suffocating, stagnant, descending.”

VOA quotes Dr. Ha Hoang Hop, a researcher at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute for Southeast Asian Studies based in Singapore, assessing Vietnam’s top-level political situation after developments at the end of 2022:

Clearly there is political instability in Vietnam. The fight against corruption is an internal struggle with each other. It creates instability because people are psychologically not positive. All normal operations are disrupted. The political system from central to local is not working effectively. Officials don’t want to work because they are afraid of being wrong. It is political instability at the highest level.”

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A political observer, a well-known critical voice, Professor Nguyen Dinh Cong, commented to VOA:

It’s okay to say it’s stagnant and unstable. The nature of this state makes some officials afraid, not daring to do anything. They think today is Mr. Phuc but tomorrow may be their his. This is an abnormal state. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it a crisis.”

In any institution, any country, when there are continuous members of the government apparatus being arrested and forced to resign from office, that country is certainly in a state of political crisis. Vietnam is no exception.

The difference is, the political instability in the countries is caused by the divergent views of different parties, once a compromise cannot be reached, it will lead to hard confrontation. In Vietnam, a country with only one party, political instability is not due to differences in opinion or ideology, but merely interests. The factions compete with each other to gain benefits for themselves, for their own faction.

The core nature of politics is to obtain government by holding state power. A legitimate state must satisfy three conditions:

  1. All activities of that state must comply with the national constitution.
  2. The National Assembly and its leadership positions must be elected by the people through free and fair elections.
  3. That state is recognized as lawful by countries around the world.

Just one of the three violations above can lead to constant inner turmoil and contradictions. But in Vietnam, it violates 2 things, which are Article 1 and Article 2. The Vietnamese Constitution is only for show, to make it beautiful, to show off to the people and to the world, but the Vietnamese government often tramples it. The second thing does not need to be discussed much, everyone understands that the elections in Vietnam are just “fake.”

Therefore, the political turmoil occurring in Vietnam is not surprising. (Translated)