Independent candidates have been promised fair treatment in Vietnam’s upcoming general election of the National Assembly, an official said on Sunday.
The National Assembly is Vietnam’s legislative body, whose 500 members are elected every five years via a national election.
The election of members of the 14th National Assembly, which will serve from 2016 to 2021, is scheduled for May 22 this year.
Independent members of the assembly have long been outnumbered by those nominated by their organizations, with the current term having only 42 independent members compared to 458 Party-affiliates.
Bui Van Kien, CEO of Tinhvan Telecom, Tinhvan Group, who was a self-nominated candidate in the 2007 election. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Bui Van Kien, an independent candidate in the 2007 election, said there are many challenges that face independent candidates concerning paperwork and procedures.
“In terms of profile, those who are nominated have had their profile screened and guaranteed by their respective affiliations prior to applying for candidacy, while independent candidates have to take matters into their own hands,” Kien said.
“It is also easier for affiliated candidates to gain local voters’ confidence, whose majority approval is needed for the candidate to proceed to the next phase,” Kien added.
Nguyen Van Pha, vice chairman of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Answering Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper questions regarding self-nomination in the upcoming general election, Nguyen Van Pha, vice chairman of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front which is in charge of approving nominations, said that all nominees, whether self-nominated or nominated by their affiliation, stand equal in the election.
“Each and every phase of the election is carried out in a transparent manner, and is open to public scrutiny,” Pha emphasized. “Favoring candidates nominated by certain affiliations is strictly forbidden, and any act of discrimination against any nominee is against the law.”
Pha also advised independent candidates to take the election seriously and not to nominate themselves “just for the sake of it.”
“Candidates should lead an exemplary lifestyle and get on well with voters in their neighborhood, for it is them who will vote to approve his or her candidacy,” Pha explained.
Besides electing National Assembly members, the national election will also elect members of people’s councils, which are the local legislative bodies, at all levels.
The National Election Council elected by the current National Assembly on December 12, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre
As of March 3, election committees across the nation had received 50 applications from independent candidates, according to Nguyen Thien Nhan, vice chairman of the National Election Council.
That number is expected to increase, as candidates still have up until March 13 to submit their candidacy application, Pha said.
The election results are scheduled to come out on June 11, with the new National Assembly to then hold a meeting in July to elect its next Chairman, vote for a new State President, and approve the nominee for Prime Minister.