Vietnam to gather public opinion on constitutional amendments

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Vietnamese people will be asked to give their opinions on draft changes to the country's 1992 Constitution next year, the National Assembly spokesman announced Friday.

Public opinion will be collected over a period of three months starting January 1, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, chairman of the NA's office said at a press conference.

The national legislative body will pass a resolution on the public survey and discuss the draft adjustments for the first time during its month long session starting this October 22, he said. The changes are related to human rights, political regime, and citizens' rights and obligations among others.

"The NA will try to pass the revised Constitution during its first session of 2014."

Phuc said the NA will consider passing nine draft laws, like amendments to Anti-Corruption Law and Personal Income Tax Law.

Lawmakers will also discuss proposed changes to Land Law, and five other draft laws, as well as a number of government reports, including those on anti-corruption and state budget in 2012, he said.

Vote of confidence 

Phuc also announced that during the upcoming session, the NA will consider passing a resolution on holding a vote of confidence for officials who serve in positions appointed or approved by the NA and the People's Councils the legislative bodies of local governments.

The resolution will take effects next year, if approved.

Under this draft resolution, every year lawmakers will vote to show their confidence in selected officials. Those officials who fail to win the confidence of more than 50 percent of lawmakers two years in succession will face a vote of no confidence. 

The draft also mentions that officials would be subjected to a no-confidence motion immediately if two-thirds of the lawmakers do not vote for them.

Officials who lose lawmakers' confidence can step down or be relieved by the NA or the People's Councils from their positions.

It is estimated if the resolution is passed, nearly 430 officials with the government, including the Prime Minister and the NA's committees will be subject to the annual vote of confidence. 

Earlier this week in their meetings with voters in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, both Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and President Truong Tan Sang stressed the resolution's importance when asked about the persistence of corruption and the poor performance of some officials.

Speaking to the voters of Ba Dinh District, Hanoi on Monday, Trong said the annual vote of confidence was needed "to awaken" officials.

However, he warned that both the annual vote and the censure vote depended a lot on lawmakers' "capacity and mentality."

The votes, if not conducted carefully, would lead to two tendencies, he said.

On one hand, officials would not dare to do anything, because the more they did, the more mistakes they could make and have greater chances of getting low votes. On the other hand, officials could also focus on going around and offering benefits to lawmakers so as to get more votes.

"Therefore, the votes need to be conducted carefully and properly," the Party leader said, adding the process needs to be checked and supervised continuously.

Meanwhile, Sang told the voters in Ho Chi Minh City's districts 1 and 3 on Tuesday that the Party Central Committee would also organize an annual vote of confidence.

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