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Nguyen Quang A writes a comment on Facebook while sitting at a cafe after an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam

Nguyen Quang A writes a comment on Facebook while sitting at a cafe after an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI – THE ECONOMIST (March 19, 2016): By running for parliament, political outsiders challenge one-party rule

Rogue candidates have little chance of surviving into May. Yet it will be hard for the Communist Party to silence them entirely, mainly because of their prominence in social media (The Economist)

ONE of Vietnam’s political gadflies, Nguyen Quang A, posted a letter this week to the chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly. Mr Quang A wrote that he had collected 5,000 signatures from among the public, including from famous writers, senior Communist Party officials and a retired general, and that he was now putting himself forward as a candidate for the rubber-stamp parliament. The odds of his bid succeeding, Mr Quang A acknowledges, are “nearly zero”. The assembly has a candidate-vetting process known as the “five gates” to keep out undesirables like him who “self-nominate”. Still, he is happy that his protest candidacy is a rare challenge to the party. Read More

Nguyen Quang A writes a comment on Facebook while sitting at a cafe after an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam

Nguyen Quang A writes a comment on Facebook while sitting at a cafe after an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

REUTERS, HANOI | Former IT entrepreneur and banker Nguyen Quang A is running a disciplined campaign to be elected to Vietnam’s parliament, declaring his assets, securing voter endorsements and appearing in a slick online video.

He is not, however, a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam nor the kind of candidate that the monolithic ruling party wants in its rubber-stamp legislature.

Quang A is one of its biggest critics and among 19 dissidents trying to run as independents in a May election to the assembly, determined to test the sincerity of promises made by the party to strengthen democracy.

“They tell us we have rights and say the regime is democratic,” he said in an interview. “Let’s see them turn rhetoric into reality.”

To pique the Communists further, Quang A is waiting to see if party chief Nguyen Phu Trong will seek re-election to the National Assembly so that he can go head-to-head with him for his seat. Read More

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Dr. Nguyen Quang A (Source: Internet)

Dr. Nguyen Quang A, a renowned Vietnamese businessman, scholar, and dissident, has launched an appeal to Vietnamese citizens to exercise their right to stand for election in the upcoming National Assembly’s elections of May 2016. He himself just kicked off a campaign to gauge the public support for his own nomination by asking people to sign a public petition to show their support.

Elections in one-party Vietnam are controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam. All candidates must be members of the Communist Party of Vietnam or endorsed by the Fatherland Front – a branch of the the Communist Party. Article 27 of the current Constitution provides for the citizens’ “right to stand for election to the National Assembly,” but this is not the legal and political reality of Vietnam. The 88 Project presents here the excerpt of Dr. Nguyen Quang A’s appeal in which he clarifies the motivation to exercise the right to stand for election within a one-party regime.

LET’S STAND FOR ELECTION TO GRADUALLY TURN RIGHTS ON PAPER INTO ACTUAL RIGHTS AND HELP MR. TRONG PROVE THAT “[VIETNAM] IS DEMOCRATIC AT THE MOST.”*

[*Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong – referred in this article as Mr. Trong, was reelected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam in January 2016. Commenting on the Politburo’s election results, he said “it was democratic at the most, it couldn’t be more democratic.”] 

Nguyen Quang A – The elections of the 14th Legislature of the National Assembly will take place on May 22, 2016. Apparently, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is preparing to nominate 896 candidates (which include 80 members of the Central Committee of the CPV). It is normal for a political party to prepare the nomination of its candidates to compete in the legislative elections. However, in our “democratic at the most” society, this is not quite normal.

Since there are no other political parties to compete agains the CPV, the nomination of candidates is a monopoly power of the CPV and its affiliated organizations. Until now, very few people self-nominate. Besides a handful of people who got implicit approval from the CPV to run for elections, almost all self-nominating candidates got ruthlessly eliminated by the “democratic to the most” procedural rules, despite the solemn guarantee by Article 27 of the Constitution of the right of every citizen who reaches the age of twenty-one to stand for election to the National Assembly.

1. LET’S GRADUALLY TURN THE RIGHTS ON PAPER INTO ACTUAL ONES

The right to self-nominate for election has still been a supposed right. The law on elections should be revised to ensure nobody can take away the right of citizens to stand for election. However, from now until March 13, 2016 (the deadline to submit self-nomination application – 70 days before the election day), there are many things citizens can do to help turning the supposed right into an actual one.   Read More