Issues of Vietnam – Single Party System
Throughout the history, political regimes underwent a transformation. In the present era, states are inclined to give preference to democracy since monarch system has been outdated. However, the political legitimacy of different states remains controversial. Vietnam’s political regime remains to be a controversial issue in the international politics. Since 2008-2009, Vietnam’s political legitimacy has emerged one party state.
Political legitimate preference of Vietnam is under conflict because of interests and preferences of the locals that vehave created the political unrest. The present argument paper aims to analyze issues of Vietnam’s single-party system based on the interviews conducted by the locals of Vietnam. The present paper illustrates the conflicting interest, issues, and concerns prevailing in the society that is in favor or against the single party system.
During the interview, some conflicting perception was evident among the locals of Vietnam regarding single party system in the country. Vietnam is officially defined its political regimes as a single-party socialist republic. The country is directed under a one-party system under its ideology. One of the respondents stated, Vietnam is different from other states, its ideology is engraved with the Marxism-Leninism, and it is in transition to socialism.
The system is supported by the locals as it more than just an ideology; it is moral legitimacy for the people of Vietnam ”. It can be noted that the communism overwhelms the political regimeof Vietnam. Perhaps, I believe that the reason that the locals support single party system in the country is the historical, political trend prevailing in the country. It appears to be a partial way to practice communism in the society. It is because Marxism-Leninism is mainly influenced by the emergence of the mixed economy in 1980s and 1990s.
At the same time, the other respondent shared views about the system as he claimed, Single party system appears to be so unrealistic with the passage of time. The country depends completely on the one-party rule with some flaws and shortcomings that it will collapse on its own”. It was argued that the one-party system was more an idealistic approach. It is beyond the realistic grounds that support current socio-political conditions across the globe.
It was stated that political conditions cause adverse impacts on the economy because of the constant disputes among the traditionalists who claim to attain socialistic principle. Also, the respondent added ‘country lack socialistic approach, it only practices monopoly on power and strictly oppose the idea of pluralist system’. In other words, it is claimed that this monopolistic approach to political legitimacy is an obstacle to the economic growth of the country. In my opinion, the political system in Vietnam does not support current economic conditions of the country. It is because that the poor economic growth and condition has paralyzed the government to take full control and practices communism in the society.
At the same time, the respondent shares the view about the brighter side of the single party system in Vietnam. The respondent stated that communist parties performed the best during the times of financial crises and internal rifts because of the strong leadership. It is because that there are no different political parties in the country due to which it is easier and quick for the government to initiate any decision. I believe when there are different political parties in a country most of the decisions take a lot of time as it needs approvals and mutual agreement from the different political parties (opposition parties).
Also, in the single party system the political conditions of a country are stable as compared to the two party systems. The respondent added, ‘for a country like Vietnam it requires a quick decision for the development, the current scenario especially economic condition needs a rapid decision.' Therefore, the authoritarian environment has promoted free speech due to which economic conditions can improve with faster pace. Each of the decision can be enacted without any delay as they require no approvals from other political parties.
The other main contracting view about the single party system is that it doesn’t provide complete freedom. Media is highly suppressed under the single party system. The respondent highlighted that the government has put down a number of bloggers, journalist and activities in the prison. In other words, it is argued that the in the single party system most of the socialist organizations, such as media, NGOs, and other activist movements are abundant. The respondent argued that in the socialist society each of the individual has the right to express himself/herself. However, at the same time the media is so strictly controlled by the government due to which most of the social concerns and issues remain undercover.
Journalists and bloggers are the most targeted people who are victimized or imprisoned and much of the information is remained private and undercover from the local civilians because of the controlled media. Since, the communist system promotes single party it is mainly associated with the accumulation of power at certain hands. It is one of the major reasons that most of the social concerns for the people are hidden. Therefore, there are a number of conflicts arising within the social context that are neglected under the single party system, such as rights of minorities, ethnic, racial, cultural issues, etc. Most of the socialist activities appear to be dominantly and deliberately controlled by the government to ensure that the power remains static in the hand of government. Since the media is controlled therefore most of the controversial issues in the country are hidden from the citizens.
In the single party system, there is only one political party that represents the entire population of Vietnam. Therefore, there is no other party who is there to represent suppressing rights of the minorities. Since there is only one party that dominantly rules the country citizens are not confused about the issues. However, some of the locals are happy, whereas some of are not happy as they want to seek change in the country.
One of the respondents stated we have only one party that stands for the election. It is better for us as the party has always taken steps that are in favor of the country, it is all what a citizen would need’. On the other hand, another respondent shared opposing views as he argued ‘single party system is so static, there is no hope for change or any opposing party that would make a contribution to direct the country in the different direction. The country is govern by certain set of rules, which are confined in the hands of some people under umbrella of a single party. It is one of the major reasons that the economic dependency in the country has changed, as well as the rights of minorities are suppressed because there is no particular party to represent them.
Most of the decision taken by the government is often not well supported by the regional and international standards. Bauxite mining in the country remains to be the most controversial issue. The country confronts several arguments and obstacles from the regional participants. It is because that the government is strictly concerned with the economic development of the country. Vietnam has an abundance of bauxite due to which bauxite mining has been the main focus. However, some of the environmentalists and scientists in the country raised their voiced against the unethical bauxite mining.
Most of the activities that are undertaken for bauxite mining raised concerns for the environment and displacement of indigenous ethnic minorities that would lead to threaten the national security. One of respondents highlighted that the bauxite mining in the country is done with the help of the Chinese government. It has exchanged a great number of workers in the region between the two countries. It appears that the government is inclined towards economic development that within its greed is corrupt by not considering the unethical acts and damage to the environment. On the other hand, some of the locals believe that industrialization has been a history of every successful nation. Even western societies have emerged as economic powers through industrialization without considering ethical, socially responsible or environmental concerns in their practices.
I believe that the major concern regarding bauxite mining in the country is the increasing security dilemma. It appears that Vietnam extensively relies on the Chinese government for the economic development due to which national security in the country can also be adversely impacted in the country. The main concerns that have rise n in the country direct to the political regimes to unrest because the influx of the workers is creating religious and social conflicts. One of the predominant issues is the dispute between Catholic Church.
One of the respondents was of the opinion that the economic development of Vietnam was slower with the total communist approach in the country. However, when the country adopted mixed economic progress, the country’s economic conditions improved significantly. It is evident in the country as people living standards have improved with the passage of time.
Respondent 1 stated that the reforms in the country have improved the market condition of the country. The single communist party in the country is focused to improve economic prosperity in the country. The exports of rice, coffee, and other agricultural products have improved the overall economic conditions.
However, at the same time one of the major disappointing sides of the single party system is the high corruption level in the country. Though, Vietnam is a single-party system the corruption in the country has significantly controlled with the passage of time. According to Transparency International Report (2015) the global corruption monitor, Vietnam is ranked 123rd country in the list of countries across the globe . The country is considered to have corruption with the least numbers. However, the struggle of the communist party in the region has cost a lot to the economy of Vietnam. Some of the industries, like real estate and stock market of the country have collapsed over the period. It is because the community party’s inexperienced and unqualified people have taken charge of the stock market and real estate.
Moreover, strict control on trading policies has also adversely affected overall performance measures of the different industries. The single party system focuses to manipulate the performance of all the economic, political and social elements in the country. One of the major drawbacks of the single party system is that it prevents globalization and resists change as it is perceived to be against cultural, social and political settings of the country. However, promotion of the exchange of ideas, resources and knowledge can yield greater opportunities and improve performance of businesses.
It is evident from the prevailing conditions of Vietnam that the banking sector, stock market and real estate industry of the country are adversely affected because of such regime in the country. If the government hands over these sectors to those who are qualified to manage them efficiently then there would be greater opportunities for the country to improve its economic conditions.
On the basis of the above discussion, it can be concluded that the single party system has some issues that affect its performance. However, the system is still favored by citizens, government and constitutional ideology of the country. The system has its own merits and demerits. However, the appropriate intervention of the government with the support of international agencies can improve economic and social conditions and boost economic activity in the country. The country had rich natural resources, potential and capabilities that can significantly contribute to improve economic conditions of the country. The country needs to work on an effective regime to make the economic machinery effective and sufficient.
The prevailing political condition in Vietnam represents constant unrest. Unlike other international countries Vietnam following single party system to govern the country. My personal interest to know the issues that are currently faced in Vietnam I conducted an interview of residents of Vietnam who have been living in the country for over 50 years. I interviewed two of highly qualified Vietnam residents who have been working in the different departments. Respondent 1 is a renowned businessman in the country, whereas respondent 2 is the landlord of the agriculture lands in the country. Both of the individuals attain equal qualification from the renowned local universities. However, these different people had different opinions about the single party system in the country.
The main focus of the interview was to determine what were their perceptions about the single party system in the country. It was evident from the interview that there were some issues and controversies that were evident because of conflicting interests.
The main concerns while searching for the interview was to ensure that the each of the participant had sound knowledge about past political and historical events in the country. So that they can provide rational opinions on the issues.
The main questions that I asked were related to their perception about the single party system. The following are the main question that were asked from the interviewees
What do you think of the single party system? And what is your opinion about it?
Respondent 1: It is a legitimate system for Vietnam it is the best way to govern, as the local business and industries can flourish
Respondent 2: I think it seems like we are in ancient times, where rulers have the entire authority to decide about you
Do you think Vietnam’s economic prosperity is possible under single party system?
Respondent 1 I think it is the best way
Respondent 2 I don’t think so, the government has handover the businesses in the country to unqualified and unprofessional people in the party
What is the major reason that you would favor or disfavor single party system in the country?
Respondent 1: Just that quicker decision can be made without any delay
Respondent 2: There is hope to attain socialism in the society, where the right of every citizen will be given without any discrimination
In the past few years, can you illustrate how the political system has shaped Vietnam’s economic and social conditions?
Respondent 1: I think there is a lot of concentration needed in the economic development of the country, as the country is way slow in this and over-dependent on China
Respondent 2: I think they are making efforts and living of people have improved in a significant manner
What do you think of freedom under the single party system? Do you think as a citizen you have the right to your freedom completely? Share your opinion?
Respondent 1: I believe, yes I think the country is actually promoting to a better way and place for an individual where the rights of the individuals are not violated.
Respondent 2: I think things are too authoritarian; each of the area is directed even media. You have no freedom to share your personal opinions
Fuller, T. (2013, April 23). In Hard Times, Open Dissent and Repression Rise in Vietnam. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/world/asia/vietnam-clings-to-single-party-rule-as-dissent-rises-sharply.html?_r=1&module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Asia%20Pacific&action=keypress®ion=FixedLeft&pgtype=article
Funston, J. (2009). Government and Politics in Southeast Asia. New York: Routledge.
Hicken, A., & Martinez, E. (2009). Party System Institutionalization in Asia: Democracies, Autocracies, and the. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jonathan, P. (2013). Politics in Contemporary Vietnam: Party, State, and Authority Relations. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Luna, J. (2013). Party System Institutionalization: Do We Need a New Concept? Studies in Comparative International Development, 49(4).
Smith, B. (2013). Understanding Third World Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Thayer, C. A. (2009). Political Legitimacy of Vietnam’s One Party-State: Challenges and Responses. Journal of International Relations, 28(4), 12-73.