Elections in a Communist Party Regime: Vietnam's Electoral Integrity Reforms and Challenges
18 Pages Posted: 22 May 2014 Last revised: 26 Sep 2014
Date Written: 2014
Elections in an authoritarian regime like Vietnam serve the party-state’s purposes of information acquisition and cooptation rather than popularity contest or leadership grooming. Thus, unlike the popular understanding proliferated by the Western media about the meaning of elections in authoritarian countries, elections are of significance to the political life of the Vietnamese party-state. In such a context, even without pressures from any political opposition, there is a growing need for the party-state to make the elections work better to bolster its legitimacy. Elections in Vietnam have long been marred by problems related to electoral integrity. Reforms of electoral integrity has been considered and cautiously implemented. An important aspect of the reform is to ensure the values, purposes and duties for which the power is entrusted to or held by electoral institutions are honoured. While achieving this will further the regime’s legitimacy and credibility of elections among candidates, it faces a number of challenges, particularly due to an inherent problem about the independence of electoral institutions and the intervention at the discretion of party leaders at various levels. Despite these challenges, the paper argues that there exist some immanent elements embedded in the electoral integrity reforms for democratic transformative potential.
Keywords: Elections, electoral integrity, reforms, communist party, National Assembly of Vietnam
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