Communist Party overwhelming winner in Vietnam elections
May 29, 2007, 11:15 GMT
Hanoi - A total of 91 per cent of the winning candidates in Vietnam's National Assembly elections, held on May 21, are members of the Communist Party, according to the official results the government announced on Tuesday.
Voters selected 493 out of 875 candidates to serve five-year terms as delegates in the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislative body. The government said an extraordinary 99.6 per cent of Vietnam's 56.4 million eligible voters had gone to the polls.
The Communist Party is the only legal political party in Vietnam, but non-Communist Party members can run for the National Assembly, usually by being nominated by government-affiliated organizations. The government had declared its desire to increase the participation of non-Party members in the Assembly.
'The number of non-Party members was expected to be 50, but only 43 were elected,' said Bui Ngoc Thanh, head of the National Assembly's electoral commission, who announced the results.
The government sets targets for the composition of the National Assembly, and nominates candidates so as to meet those targets. Thanh said the government had aimed for 150 female delegates, and was disappointed that only 127 were elected.
'Although some of our expectations were not reached,' Thanh said, the election was a success, and reflected Vietnamese citizens' confidence in Communist Party policies, as well as 'promoting the people's sense of ownership.'
Local officials in Vietnam are tasked with ensuring the maximum possible voter turnout, and neighborhoods compete to get their voters to the polls, using bullhorns and house-to-house visits. During the elections on May 21, foreign journalists observed widespread proxy voting, with Vietnamese families delegating one member to cast votes for the entire household, though this practice is nominally illegal.
In comments before the elections, government officials had stressed the number of 'self-nominated' candidates, those who had decided to run on their own, rather than being nominated by the government, the Party, or powerful mass organizations such as the Women's Union or the national Labor Union.
Officials of the Fatherland Front, a powerful patriotic organization which plays a central role in the elections process, said the self-nominated candidates would allow new elements of society to take part in government.
But the government said that of the 30 self-nominated candidates, only one was elected. This represents a decline from the previous National Assembly, which had two self-nominated delegates.
Meanwhile, of the 165 'centrally nominated' candidates, those put forward by powerful national bodies, 153 were elected. Top national leaders were voted in overwhelmingly, with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung receiving 99 per cent of the vote in his district in the port city of Haiphong.
The new National Assembly's first meeting has been scheduled for July 18-20.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur