The Constitution (2013) is approved at the 6th session of the 13thNational Assembly on November 28, 2013 and comes into force on January 1, 2014, which is the most important political-legal event of the whole country. The Constitution 2013 with new contents containing the deep scientific contents,veracity, accuracy, clarity, vibrant the new life of vitality and creativity. It reflects the real situation of the comprehensive reform of the country for nearly 30 years initiated and led by the Communist Party of Vietnam.
One of the new contents of the Constitution 2013 is to constitute the mastery of the people, which expresses a fully deeper awareness of the institutionalization of the Party’s and State’s views on the promotion of rights and obligations of the whole people. The people are considered as the subject, the main source and the goal of development. To better understand this issue regarding to the people’s mastery in the Constitution 2013, this article mentions some of the most important new points in the Constitution, reflecting new contents to institutionalize the Platform of national constructionduring transitional period toward socialism (supplement, development in 2011); the full and clear definition of the subject is the people in the Constitution, the power of the State belongs to the people.
Firstly, in the Preamble part of the Constitution 2013 which has confirmed that: “the Vietnamese People frame, implement, and protect this Constitution for the objectives of prosperous people and a powerful nation, democracy, justice and civilization”, expressed obviously the people’s responsibilities in framing, implementing and protecting the Constitution. With the content of Article 2, the Constitution showed out consistently views of the Party and the State on promoting the mastery of the people in the Constitution, that is “the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a socialist rule of law State of the People, by the People and for the People”, the people are crucial masters in constructing and protecting the country. It is the first time that the word “people” is written in capital character as “People” in the Constitution. This is not just a word expression but a meaning of an important subject of the country in President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts. His wrote: “Our nation is a democratic nation, all benefits are for the people, the work of national reform and constructions is responsibility of the people, the governments from commune level to the central level are appointed by the people, the organizations from central to local levels are held by the people, eventually the power and forces are from the people.” (1)
Secondly, at the Clause 2, Article 4 of the Constitution 2013 regulated: “The Communist Party of Vietnam maintains close ties with the People, serves the People, submits to People’s supervision and is accountable to the People in its decisions.” This new supplemented point is very important because the role of the people’s mastery is entrusted to the Party with responsibility for leading the State and society, so that the Party is subject to the supervision and accountability of the people in its leadership.
Thirdly, in Article 6 of the Constitution 2013 stated that: “The people exercise the State power under the forms of direct democracy and of representative democracy through the National Assembly, the People’s Councils and other State agencies”. The Constitution 2013 set out a broader variety of people’s exercise of power compared with the previous Constitutions, particularly it has demonstrated that exercising the State’s power by direct democracy has made the role of the people’s masterymore clearly and deeply.
Fourthly, it is the first time the human rights and basic citizen’s rights were recognized in Chapter II of the Constitution, they were arranged after Chapter I which regulated about the political regime. The Constitution 2013 has constituted about highly appreciation to the human factor, the people are subjects and main sources and objectives of development. In Article 14, it stated that: “In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, human rights and citizens’ rights in the political, civic, economic, cultural and social fields are recognized, respected, protected and guaranteed in concordance with the Constitution and the law. Human rights and citizens’ rights shall only be restricted when prescribed by law in imperative circumstances for the reasons of national defense, national security, social order and security, social morality and community well-being.” Compare to the Constitution 1992, this Constitution 2013 clearly regulated the human rights and citizen’s rights are restricted in some certain cases to avoid violating the human rights and citizen’s rights.
Contrast to the Constitution 1992, in the Constitution 2013 the word “all citizens” are changed by the word “all people”. Article 16 mentioned: “All people are equal before the law. No one shall be discriminated against based on his or her political, civic, economic, cultural or social life” by the way it added “Everyone has the right to live. Human life is protected by the law. No one shall be illegally deprived of his or her life” (Article 19). In the article “To perfect the institution, promote the people’s mastery and successfully carry out the task of 2014, to create a fast and sustainable development basis” Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung emphasized:” Any restriction of freedom of Citizens must be carefully considered and mainly to protect the homeland, ensure national security, social order and safety and good cultural, historical and ethical values of the nation. People have the right to do all that the law does not prohibit and use the law to protect their legitimate rights and interests. State agencies and officials can only do what the law allows. All state management decisions must be transparent “(2). According to President Ho Chi Minh: Our democracy is moving forward and building is real democracy, democracy in practice, in which the people hold the highest position. All activities of the State, the Party and mass organizations are aimed at “implementing social reforms, improving people’s living standards and practicing true democracy” (3). These are the basic principles that promote the responsibility of the state in relation to human rights and citizenship, which is a constitutional basis for the protection the human rights and basic obligations of citizens. In addition to expressing the people’s mastery of the Constitution, Vietnam’s commitments to the implementation of treaty-related international treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory member.
Fifthly, in Chapter IV: Defense of the Fatherland, the Constitution affirms “To defend the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland is the responsibility of the entire people. The State shall consolidate and strengthen national defence by the entire people and of the people’s security, with the people’s armed forces regarded as the core, shall develop to the full the aggregate strength of the country to defend the Fatherland and shall contribute to the protection of peace in the region and in the world. All agencies, organizations and citizens shall fulfil all their national defence and security obligations.”Accordingly, the Constitution further defines the responsibility of the State in strengthening the people’s defense and the people’s security, of the people, by the people and for the people. The people force is the key one, in order to bring into full play the combined strength of the country to firmly protect the socialist fatherland of Vietnam and at the same time supplement the objective of “contributing to the regional and world peace protection. great”. This is a new content compared to the Constitution of 1992, consistently reflecting the independent and self-reliant manner of the Communist Party of Vietnam, while adhering to the Charter of the United Nations and international treaties which our country is a member,it affirmed that Vietnam is a friend, reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community for the benefits of the nation and the people, contributing to the cause of peace and national independenc, democracy and social progress in the world.
In Clause 2, Article 44, the Constitution 2013 wrote: “Citizens must show loyalty to their Fatherland. Treason is the most serious crime.” This is one of the most unique points of the Constitution 2013, clearly affirming the views of the Party, State and people on: “To defend the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland is the responsibility of the entire people.” (Clause 1, Article 64). All agencies, organizations and citizens shall fulfil all their national defence and security obligations. The State shall consolidate and strengthen national defence by the entire people and of the people’s security, with the people’s armed forces regarded as the core, shall develop to the full the aggregate strength of the country to defend the Fatherland and shall contribute to the protection of peace in the region and in the world. That is the dialectical impact between the protection of independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, protection of each of the sacred land of the country closely associated with the protection of the Party, the State, protection of the social regime Protectionism, protection of the people and protection of revolutionary achievements; To protect the advanced culture, strong national identity … This clearly demonstrates the determination of our Party and people, of the whole political system in protecting national sovereignty of borders, island, continental shelf of the country.
Apart from the contents shown in Chapter IV on Defense of the Fatherland, many articles of the Constitution affirm that “the Vietnamese Fatherland is sacred and inviolable” Acts against the sovereignty of sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity against the cause of building and defending the motherland are severely punished. ” Accordingly, the constitution of the defense of the fatherland is the sacred duty and the noble duty of the citizen, all citizens must exercise equal rights to defend the motherland, including the military service regime is central. Together with stipulating the specific contents of the responsibility and obligation to protect the Fatherland of the entire people, in order to ensure the fulfillment of the tasks of national defense and security and the building the people’s armed forces, the Constitution 2013 has stipulated the authority of the National Assembly, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, the constitution also further concluded fully the role of the armed forces, the President of the State Council for national defense and security in accordance with the new situation.
Sixthly, Article 65 of the Constitution 2013: “The people’s armed forces must show absolute loyalty to the Fatherland, the People, the Party, and the State. Their duty is to protect national independence and sovereignty, the country’s unity and territorial integrity, national security and social order; to protect the People, the Party, the State and the socialist regime and to join the entire people in national construction and fulfilment of international duties.” has demonstrated the responsibility of the armed forces to be absolutely loyal to the people, first of all to protect the people as the subject of national ownership, to protect the Party, the State and the socialist regime.
Seventhly, Article 69 of the Constitution 2013 stated that “The National Assembly is the highest representative body of the People and the highest body of State power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” It has emphasized the people’s role as the mastery subject of the State’s power, all State’s powers belong to the people.The people authorized exercising the supreme power to National Assembly so as to draw up and amend the Constitution; to make and amend laws with the approval of at least two-thirds of its member by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee.
The National Assemblyhas duties to regulate the organization and operation of the National Assembly, the State President, the Government, the People’s Courts, the People’s Procuracy, the National Council, the State Audit, local administrations, and other bodies created by the National Assembly; to elect, suspend and revoke the head of these organizations in order to ensure the operation and the State administration management, social management in accordance with the people’s authorization to the National Assembly as the highest representative body of the People and the highest body of State power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam./.
Lieutenant General, Academician, Ph.D. Nguyen Huy Hieu
Former member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Minister of Ministry of National Defense
(1) Ho Chi Minh, full episode, Volume 5, National Political Publishing House, H.2011, p.232.
(2) The People Newspaper, date 02/01/2014
(3) Ho Chi Minh, full episode, Volume 5, National Political Publishing House, H.2011, p.3.