Deputy National Assembly Chairman Uong Chu Luu spoke with the Vietnam News Agency about a project that would allow citizens to vote directly for representatives at communal level People’s Committees.
Why didn’t we speak before about letting people vote for those positions when the Law on the Organisation of the People’s Committee and People’s Council was first developed?
This is indeed a reform in the local administration. In fact, relevant agencies have discussed this before, but at that time we were highlighting a representative democracy [involving the selection of Government officials by the people being represented] in which a collective decision was thought the best solution. Now we are implementing administrative reforms which focus on the responsibilities, positions and roles of chairmen of People’s Committees at the commune level, and so we decided to run a pilot project.
The Government has assigned the Ministry of Home Affairs to develop the pilot project. Do you think this will be better than the previous method, where the position was elected by the communal People’s Council and approved by a higher level?
I think the new way is completely reasonable because the organisation of the People’s Committee and People’s Council as well as direct democracy [a political system where the citizens actively participate in decision-making] and representative democracy have been discussed at many meetings. Now we have decided to pilot the system for several years, and then we shall review the system’s effectiveness before issuing a law.
Many big clans are living in communes and wards. Do you this will lead to conflict when the head of a People’s Committee also represents a big clan?
This is also a big concern. The pilot project will try to avoid favouritism in some localities where the majority belong to a single clan and vote for their clan member without considering the common good.
What should we do to avoid formalism?
Letting people directly vote for their head will help them express their desires. Based on the requirements for the position, people will be able to use their ballot to select an appropriate representative.
Who will give final approval for the position in place of the former People’s Council?
The project will provide guidance. It is based on the realities of these localities. — VNS