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Thayer Vietnam: Political In Fighting

Thayer Vietnam: Political In Fighting

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
Three assessments: (1) the 13th session of the current National Assembly; (2) the arrest warrant for the former chairman of Vinalines; and (3) speculation of policy and personality in-fighting in the Vietnam Communist Party.
Three assessments: (1) the 13th session of the current National Assembly; (2) the arrest warrant for the former chairman of Vinalines; and (3) speculation of policy and personality in-fighting in the Vietnam Communist Party.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on May 24, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/28/2013

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Background Briefs:Vietnam: National AssemblyHolds 13th SessionCarlyle A. ThayerMay 22, 2012
The thirteen session of the National Assembly will convene this week. What do youexpect to come out of this session? What issues will top the agenda? What shouldthe deputies to regain public confidence after losing steam in the last session?ANSWER: The current third session (13th legislature) of the National Assemblymainly will reflect its normal legislative work program including a review of the statebudget for 2011, socio-economic development in 2011, as well as the adoption of thirteen draft laws. The National Assembly will also begin preliminary considerationof a further six draft laws. The major items on the agenda will be the Government'smaster plan for economic restructuring and the Government's report on theeconomy.National Assembly deputies should take their responsibility to oversee theGovernment's handling of the economy by critically reviewing all Governmentreports and closely questioning the ministers concerned. National Assembly deputiesshould focus on two main issues: amendments to the law on land and speeding upthe process of equitisation of state-owned enterprises.National Assembly deputies should deal with the case of deputy Mrs. Dang ThiHoang Yen. In particular they should review current procedures so cases like this canbe handled expeditiously and transparently. If she wants to resign that would endthe matter. Why prolong her case? The decision by the National Assembly StandingCommittee not to accept her resignation on the grounds that deputies who have lostthe confidence of the people "shall be removed by the National Assembly" appearsan attempt to humiliate if not punish her.
Suggested citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, “
Vietnam: National Assembly Holds 13
th
 Session
,”
Thayer Consultancy Background Briefs
, 2012.
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123
 
 
Background Briefs:Vietnam: Arrest Warrant forFormer Vinalines ChairmanCarlyle A. ThayerMay 22, 2012
[client name deleted]We would like your appreciation of the arrest warrant issued for the formerchairman of Vinalines. What is the significance of this arrest and does it have anybearing on the restructuring of the economy and the shakeup of state-ownedcompanies? Will Vietnam make more arrests?ANSWER: The Vinalines case once again illustrates the problems of transparency,oversight and control of state-owned enterprises (SOE) in Vietnam which give rise toa culture of corruption. I expect more arrests to follow once police have interrogatedthose already arrested. It takes a network of individuals to collude inmismanagement and the misallocation of funds. Both the Vinashin and Vinalinescases are a wakeup call that Vietnam must carry out major reforms of all state-owned enterprises to put into place a rigorous mechanism of external review andcontrol of management practices and budgeting. Vietnam must also face up to thefact that the management of state-owned enterprises are closely allied to the powerstructure in Vietnam. Government authorities must ensure that there is nofavouritism or protection afforded to corrupt SOE managers.Suggested
citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, “Vietnam: Arrest Warrant for Former Vinalines
Chairman
,”
Thayer Consultancy Background Briefs
, 2012.
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123
 
 
Background Briefs:Vietnam: Policy andPersonality DifferencesEmergeCarlyle A. ThayerMay 22, 2012
In my many years as a student of Vietnamese politics I have never witnessed a bettereffort to control information about the inner workings of the Vietnam CommunistParty than in recent years. Communist officials have succeeded in taming the foreignpress and few Hanoi-based correspondents dare to report on internal party politicsin the manner of their predecessors such as Murray Hiebert of the Far EasternEconomic Review and Robert Templer of Agence France-Presse. The party hastightened up control over its propaganda organs and restricted Vietnamese mediaaccess to party conferences and meetings My general proposition about the controlof information about internal party decision making is borne out by coverage of current discussions on amending the state Constitution and the campaign to dealwith corruption and party reform.All Vietnamese media reporting on the outcome of the recent 5
th
plenary session of 
the party’s Central Committee were frustratin
g for their lack of detail. This signals tome that there is intense in-fighting over both policy and personalities. Vietnamshould be reeling over major multi-billion dollar scandals involving its massive state-owned enterprises, Vinashin and Vinalines. These two scandals get at the heart of politics in Vietnam today because they involve the hidden network of political andeconomic power. In other words, the Vinashin and Vinalines scandals do not involveonly the chairmen, directors and other company employees, but their politicalsponsors. These conglomerates have been able to operate without transparency andeffective oversight. Last year Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung apologised before theNational Assembly over the Vinashin scandal.It is clear that Pri
me Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s
free-wheeling style thatconcentrated ever increasing power in the office of the prime minister has led to aloss of power by the party and its organs to exercise effective supervision and
control. The Prime Minister’s large n
etwork became both player and referee in
Vietnam’s economy. It should be recalled that Nguyen Tan Dung set up an Anti
-Corruption Steering Committee, which he headed, after he was first elected primeminister.The decision by the 5
th
plenum to create a new Anti-Corruption Central SteeringCommittee would appear to be one of the first steps by the party to reassert itself inexercising control over the government. If reports are correct, the prime minster will
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

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BBC weekly highlights: "An online piece by Vietnam expert, Carl Thayer which exposed an internal political struggle within the communist leadership of Vietnam, has attracted a record number of web traffic to BBCVietnamese.com this week, generating over 150 thousand views within 48 hours of the story going up. " May 26, 2012
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