The One Party-State and Prospects for Democratization in Vietnam

[ISEAS Perspective] The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is one of the longest ruling parties in the world. It has been governing continuously for 68 years, 38 years of which have been in peace time. Within the next 7 years, it will be challenging the record held by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) of having the longest unbroken rule by any political party in modern world history.

The Party’s turn to performance-based legitimacy—the state’s ability to provide for the welfare of the people through sound economic performance—has served as the essential foundation for its continued rule. This began with the adoption of the Doi Moi policy in the late 1980s. However, prolonged economic difficulties, the public’s growing frustration with endemic corruption in the Party’s ranks, the increasing number of dissidents attempting to organize themselves into opposition movements, and pressure for deep political reforms from within the Party have presented the CPV with serious challenges to its political legitimacy.

This paper seeks to examine recent major challenges to the CPV’s rule and assess
the key conditions and forces that are either accelerating or slowing down prospects for democratization in the country. Continue reading “The One Party-State and Prospects for Democratization in Vietnam”


Navigating the Crisis: The VCP’s Efforts to Restructure the Economy and Fight Corruption

[Southeast Asian Affairs 2013] This chapter focuses on the Vietnam Communist Party’s (VCP) efforts, especially in 2012, to promote its political legitimacy. In particular, the chapter will analyse Vietnam’s recent endeavours in restructuring the economy and intensifying its fight against corruption. These two measures have been adopted by the VCP as a major part of its wider response to the perceived decline in its performance-based legitimacy due to the country’s enduring socio-economic difficulties over the past few years. The chapter will argue that although both the economic restructuring and the fight against corruption have achieved certain progress, the actual results still leave much to be desired mainly because of the VCP’s unwillingness to embrace radical measures to reform the economy and to make its fight against corruption truly effective. As a result, although the two measures tend to help the VCP gain more popular support in the short term, whether or not they are sufficient to significantly improve the VCP’s political legitimacy in the long run is still unclear. Continue reading “Navigating the Crisis: The VCP’s Efforts to Restructure the Economy and Fight Corruption”

Vietnam’s fight against corruption: a self-defeating effort?

[East Asia Forum] Vietnam’s National Assembly will pass the revised Law on Anti-Corruption in the next few weeks to try to intensify the fight against corruption. This is an important move against the backdrop of widespread and enduring corruption, which has undermined the legitimacy of the country’s communist regime. For example, a 2010 report by Towards Transparency, a local anti-corruption NGO, shows that 62 per cent of ordinary urban Vietnamese citizens surveyed perceived corruption in the country to be getting worse and 18 per cent said it remained the same. Meanwhile, in 2011 Vietnam was ranked 112th out of 182 surveyed countries in the expert-polled Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. Continue reading “Vietnam’s fight against corruption: a self-defeating effort?”

Performance-based Legitimacy: The Case of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Doi Moi

[Contemporary Southeast Asia]  Abstract: This article examines the link between the legitimation process of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and its adoption of the Doi Moi (renovation) policy. It argues that socio-economic performance emerged as the single most important source of legitimacy for the CPV in the mid-1980s as its traditional sources of legitimacy were exhausted and alternative legitimation modes were largely irrelevant or ineffective. The CPV’s switch to performance-based legitimacy has had significant implications for Vietnam’s domestic politics as well as its foreign policy and has served as an essential foundation for the Party’s continued rule. At the same time, however, it has also presented the CPV with serious challenges in maintaining uninterrupted socio-economic development in the context of the country’s growing integration with the global economic system which is experiencing instability. It is in this context that nationalism, couched in terms of Vietnam’s territorial and maritime boundary claims in the South China Sea, has been revived as an additional source of legitimacy in times of economic difficulties. Continue reading “Performance-based Legitimacy: The Case of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Doi Moi”

Vụ Tiên Lãng và “pháp luật qua điện thoại”

[BBC Vietnamese] Trong thời gian gần đây vụ ông Đoàn Văn Vươn và người thân nổ súng vào đoàn cưỡng chế thu hồi đất ở Tiên Lãng (Hải Phòng) đã làm tốn không ít giấy mực của báo chí và công luận. Đặc biệt vụ việc này còn là một ví dụ cho thấy rõ những bất cập liên quan đến không chỉ năng lực mà còn quan trọng hơn là tính khách quan, độc lập trong hoạt động của ngành tư pháp Việt Nam. Continue reading “Vụ Tiên Lãng và “pháp luật qua điện thoại””

Vietnam’s Tyranny of Geography

[The Diplomat] Some researchers liken China to a rooster, with Korea as its beak and Vietnam its leg. The analogy, while highlighting the strategic importance of Vietnam toward China’s well-being, especially in terms of security, also implies that Vietnam has long been living with the weight of China on its shoulder. The problem is that Vietnam can’t do much about it, even if it wants to. Continue reading “Vietnam’s Tyranny of Geography”

Việt Nam: Cần thận trọng với ảnh hưởng của nhóm lợi ích

[Vietnamnet] Trong thời gian chờ đợi một đạo luật về ứng xử với các nhóm lợi ích, có lẽ điều quan trọng nhất cần phải làm đối với các nhà hoạch định chính sách chúng ta lúc này chính là: Hãy luôn luôn cảnh giác với ảnh hưởng của các nhóm lợi ích. Continue reading “Việt Nam: Cần thận trọng với ảnh hưởng của nhóm lợi ích”

Việt Nam: Từ dịch bệnh đến an ninh con người

[Vietnamnet] Dịch cúm A H1N1 hiện đang nổi lên như một mối quan tâm hàng đầu đối với cộng đồng quốc tế. Tính đến 00h00 ngày 5/5, Tổ chức Y tế Thế giới (WHO) cho biết số ca mắc cúm A H1N1 đã vượt qua con số 1.000 tại 20 nước trên 5 châu lục. Nhiều nước đã ban bố tình trạng khẩn cấp và WHO cũng đã nhắc đến khả năng đưa cảnh báo về dịch cúm A H1N1 lên mức báo động cao nhất.

Continue reading “Việt Nam: Từ dịch bệnh đến an ninh con người”

Dự án bô-xít Tây Nguyên dưới góc nhìn nghiên cứu xung đột

[Vietnamnet] Thời gian qua Đại dự án bô-xít Tây Nguyên đã thu hút được sự quan tâm đặc biệt của dư luận xã hội, với sự đóng góp ý kiến nhiều chiều của các chuyên gia kỹ thuật, các nhà nghiên cứu, các nhà hoạch định chính sách, cũng như đông đảo người dân quan tâm tới dự án này và các tác động của nó. Liên quan đến dự án, Bộ Chính trị cũng đã có kết luận nêu rõ phát triển

Continue reading “Dự án bô-xít Tây Nguyên dưới góc nhìn nghiên cứu xung đột”