Vietnam's National Assembly wants more say in confidence votes

By Tue Nguyen, Thanh Nien News

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Deputy Chu Son Ha of Hanoi speaking at a National Assembly session in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang Deputy Chu Son Ha of Hanoi speaking at a National Assembly session in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang

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Several delegates from Vietnam's National Assembly called for reform in the frequency and manner in which the nation's top leaders are evaluated.
Confidence votes have been held only twice -- first in May of 2013 and again last week -- to assess the national assembly's confidence in the nation's ministers, president, prime minister and assembly chair.
On November 15, a total of 485 NA delegates cast anonymous ballots.
Each had the option of expressing "high confidence," ''confidence" or "low confidence."
During the recent meeting, lawmakers discussed an amended resolution on the confidence vote that's expected to pass this week.
Deputy Chu Son Ha of Hanoi, called it unreasonable for the Assembly's Standing Committee to have rejected the assembly's request to hold two confidence votes per tenure.
“A period of two years offers plenty of time for officials to improve their performances,” he said.
Deputy Le Thi Nga of Thai Nguyen Province said the three-tier voting system subverts the very spirit of it.
“A confidence vote is held to determine whether a position has the confidence of the National Assembly or not.”
“The current three-tier vote assumes that whatever position being considered already has the assembly's confidence” she said. "As such the vote seems only designed to determine whether our confidence is high or low."
Nga said the assembly's inability to express “no confidence” limits its power to represent the interests of its consituents.
“Deputies have no way of expressing their opinions. If they write in a vote of ‘no confidence’, the ballot will be rejected,” she said.
Deputy Bui Thi An of Hanoi also said it is difficult to evaluate the assembly's confidence under the current system.
“For example, how can you compare a vote that drew 50 percent ‘high confidence’, zero ‘confidence’ and 50 percent ‘low confidence’ with another vote that enjoys 33 percent in every category?” 
Deputy Vo Thi Dung said the May session for planning amendments to the related resolution was too rushed.
“This haste reflected how worried members of the National Assembly are about protecting those being voted on.”
Dung agreed with the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on allowing officials who draw low confidence to resign.
“But if the individual does not resign, will the National Assembly hold another election or just wait?” 
Several officials have received a significantly low vote of confidence in the past without ostensible results. 

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