Political and Legal Environment

Political and Legislative System

The Constitution in general establishes the mastery of the people under the leadership of the Communist Party, of which the highest representation is the Politburo and the Party Secretary General. The power of the people is to be exercised through the National Assembly (“NA”) at the central level and the People’s Councils at different local levels.

The NA is the supreme representative and legislative body and determines both domestic and foreign policy. It is elected by universal suffrage. The NA in turn elects and may remove from office the President, Vice-President, Chairperson of the NA, Vice-chairperson of NA, members of the Standing Committee of the NA, the Prime Minister (“PM”), the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, and the Head of the Supreme People’s Procuracy. In addition, the NA has the responsibility of sanctioning the PM’s selection of Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers.

The NA is also responsible for approving the organization of the Government of Vietnam (“GoV”) and its agencies, and is the supreme law-making body. The duration of the NA is 5 years and elections are held two months prior to the expiry of its term. The Standing Committee possesses the power to manage the day-to-day affairs of the NA when it is not in session and during this time the Standing Committee assumes all its powers, including the law-making power on matters entrusted to it by the NA.

The Head of State is the President, who is elected by the NA and represents the Nation internally and externally.

The highest executive body in Vietnam is the GoV, formerly known as the Council of Ministers. It is charged generally with the management of the economy and the state. It is made up of the PM, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and the Chairpersons of the various State Committees and the Governor of the State Bank. Individual ministries and organizations equivalent to ministries aid the PM in the administration of the Country within the specific fields in which they have jurisdiction. The Deputy Prime Ministers and the Ministers are selected by the PM but must be approved by the NA. With the exception of the PM, the members of the GoV do not have to be members of the NA. Decisions on major issues must be taken on a majority basis.

Below the GoV are People’s Committees and People’s Councils. The People’s Councils are elected by the people and in turn elect the People’s Committees. These bodies occur at the levels of city/province, district and commune. Each city/province, district or commune is governed by a People’s Committee.

The court and prosecution systems in Vietnam have a structure similar to the administrative system. In the central level, the Supreme People’s Court is the highest juridical body in Vietnam and the Chief Justice is elected by the NA for the term of the NA. The Supreme People’s Procuracy has the highest power on prosecution in Vietnam and the Head is also elected by the NA for the term of the NA. In local levels, these bodies occur at the levels of region, city/province and district.

For information, the political system and State apparatus are outlined below:

Leaders of the State and Communist Party
Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam NGUYEN Phu Trong
President of the State VO Van Thuong
Chairperson of the National Assembly VUONG Dinh Hue
Prime Minister PHAM Minh Chinh
Deputy Prime Ministers (4)

LE Minh Khai

LE Van Thanh

TRAN Hong Ha

TRAN Luu Quang

Ministries and ministerial-level agencies
Ministry of Planning and Investment NGUYEN Chi Dzung
Ministry of Industry and Commerce NGUYEN Hong Dien
Ministry of Finance HO Duc Phoc
Ministry of Science and Technology HUYNH Thanh Dat
Ministry of National Resources and Environment TRAN Hong Ha
Ministry of Construction NGUYEN Thanh Nghi
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development LE Minh Hoan
Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs DAO Ngoc Dzung
Ministry of Transport NGUYEN Van Thang
Ministry of Education and Training NGUYEN Kim Son
Ministry of Health DAO Hong Lan
Ministry of Information and Communications NGUYEN Manh Hung
Ministry of Defense PHAN Van Giang
Ministry of Public Security TO Lam
Ministry of Foreign Affairs BUI Thanh Son
Ministry of Justice LE Thanh Long
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism NGUYEN Van Hung
Ministry of Home Affairs PHAM Thi Thanh Tra
Government Inspectorate DOAN Hong Phong
State Bank of Vietnam NGUYEN Thi Hong
Government Office TRAN Van Son
Committee for Ethnic Affairs HAU A Lenh
Other State Agencies
Supreme People’s Court NGUYEN Hoa Binh
Supreme People’s Procuracy LE Minh Tri

Legal System

In Vietnam, the legal system comprises of constitution, codes, laws, ordinances, decrees, decisions, circulars, directives, and official letters, to some extent. Although all have the force of law, only a law passed by the NA is referred to as such.

Ordinances are issued by the NA’s Standing Committee, commonly to regulate on an area where a law is not yet promulgated and/or regulated. On matters that the NA entrusted to the GoV, the GoV issues decrees or decisions or directives to implement the issued laws or ordinances.

Circulars, decisions and regulations are normally issued by individual ministries and other State agencies including people’s committees, with respect to subjects within their sphere of responsibility and the force of subordinate legislation.

It should be noted when using that while codes, laws and ordinances are referred to by the name, decrees, decisions, circulars and directives are usually referred to by the number, signing date, and the name of issuer.