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Workshop “Citizens’ Participation in the Management of State and Society – International Experience and Ideas for Vietnam”

09/07/2018
On June 6th 2018, at the Sheraton hotel, Nghi Tam, Hanoi, Institute of State and Law collaborated with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) office in Hanoi to organize international workshop on “Citizens’ participation in the management of State and society – international experience and ideas for Vietnam”.

The workshop attracted over 100 participants and researchers both domestically and internationally.

 

Prof. Dang Nguyen Anh

 

Prof. Dang Nguyen Anh, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, delivers the opening speech. He believes citizens’ participation in the management of State and society is both an objective demand as well as a responsibility of the citizens toward the State and society. This workshop is to review the laws and the situation of Vietnam, to ensure citizens’ participation in management of State and society. The researchers would also share some international experience in promoting citizens’ participation, to help perfect the mechanism for attracting citizens’ participation in the management of State and society.

 

The opening speech is followed by the remarks by Mr. Peter Girke, Chief Representative Office of KAS in Vietnam. He expresses his thanks to all Vietnamese and international delegates and researchers for paying interest and making time to attend the workshop. He hopes all the researchers could discuss how to improve the legal system, attract more citizens’ participation in the management of State and society at low cost but with high efficiency.

 

The first session of the workshop is entitled “Law on citizens’ participation in the management of State and society: experience, opportunity and challenge”, chaired by Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Duc Minh. The first presentation is made by Assoc. Prof. Pham Huu Nghi (Institute of State and Law) on “Advantages and difficulties in ensuring citizens’ participation in the management of State and society in Vietnam”.

 

Assoc. Prof. Pham Huu Nghi

 

The presentation delivers 3 main advantages in ensuring citizens’ participation in the management of State and society as follow: (i) The Communist Party of Vietnam always pay close attention and set policies to mobilize and create opportunities for citizen to participate in the management of State and society, (ii) Legal basis has already been in place, (iii) The Constitution of 2013 recognizes the State responsibility to be open and transparent in receiving and giving feedbacks to citizen. Assoc. Prof. Pham Huu Nghi also points out other difficulties, one of which is that the legal basis is insufficient and precarious to ensure the citizens’ participation in the management of State and society.

 

In this session, the workshop also receives some international experience from the presentation of Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Hoang Anh (School of Law, Hanoi National University) on “Encouraging and ensuring citizens’ participation in the management of State and society – some foreign experience”.

 

The second session entitled “Election, candidacy and referendum” chaired by Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Nhu Phat (Institute of State and Law). The opening presentation is by Assoc. Prof. Vu Cong Giao, “The right to vote and stand for election of Vietnamese citizens”. He states that Vietnam’s election is generally in line with democratic principles recognized by the international community. Recently, the regulation of the election system is to be amended. However, compare to the requirements of building the rule of law state and international integration, the law on election still has many shortcomings.

 

 The workshop continued with presentation from Assoc. Prof. Dinh Ngoc Vuong (Vietnam Institute of Lexicography and Encyclopedia) on “Referendum as a constitutional right”. The Law on referendum was enacted in 2015 and has come into force since July 1st 2016. However, according to Assoc. Prof. Dinh Ngoc Vuong, the organization of a referendum remains to be seen in the near future since the Standing Committee of the National Assembly and the Government has not issued legal documents guiding the implementation of this law. In this session, the workshop also receives some experience from some European countries in the presentation of Assoc. Prof. Dang Minh Duc (Insitute for European Studies) on “Referendum: Experience from some European countries”.

 

The workshop comes to the third session titled “Implementing democracy: Experience from several countries” chaired by Mrs. Ingrid Habets. The opening presentation is “Democratizing the Judicial System in Japan” by Prof. Masahisa Deguchi (Faculty of Law, Ritsumeikan University, Japan). He analyzes the remarkable reforms in the judicial system: civil reconciliation, the judiciary, the people’s jury, technical advisor, labor tribunal. This session also includes the presentation by Dr. Rhee Ik Hyeon (President of the Korea Legislation Research Institute) on “Implementation of direct democracy in Korea”.

 

Prof. Deguchi

 

To answer the question on the criteria to select judges and people’s jury, Prof. Deguchi explains that a judge must be an objective and impartial person. The jurors are picked from ordinary people, not from experts in specific fields of a case. In Korea, Dr. Rhee reveals that judges are under the supervision of the Government. They are required to pass numerous tests and have specific agencies to supervise their decisions. Overall, judges in Korea are completely independent.

 

For the last session “Citizens’ participation in the base units” chaired by Assoc. Prof. Pham Huu Nghi, two presentations are introduced:

            - The role of social organizations in promoting citizens’ participation – Dr. Nguyen Linh Giang (Institute of State and Law);

            - Practical implementation of democracy in base units in Ho Chi Minh city – Mrs. Trinh Thi Kim Phuong (Ho Chi Minh People’s Council).

 

At the end of the workshop, Mr. Peter Girke briefly summarizes participants’ opinions. According to Mr. Girke, if the Government wants to meet the changing demands of the people, it will be necessary to establish a transparent and enforceable mechanism for the people to ensure the responsibility of the leaders to the people. Finally, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Duc Minh, on behalf of the organizers, thanks all the international and Vietnamese presenters, researchers, participants for their attendance and discussion in the workshop; thanks the organizing team. On behalf of Institute of State and Law, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Duc Minh thanks Mr. Girked and other KAS staff for their support and collaboration with Institute for the successful workshop.