The judicial system in Vietnam was patterned after the Soviet model. At the lowest level are district courts, whose decisions may be appealed to provincial and city courts. The highest court of appeal is the Supreme People’s Court, which also functions as a court of first instance for certain serious crimes. Members of the Supreme People’s Court are elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms. Each of the lower courts is assigned a judge and several people’s assessors, who play a role similar to that of a jury in the Anglo-American system. All are elected by and held accountable to the local government.
The Supreme People’s Office of Supervision and Control is responsible for the uniform implementation of the law. The office is headed by a procurator-general who is appointed to a five-year term by the National Assembly. Below the central office are local offices of supervision and control, which ensure observance of the law by local government bodies and by all citizens.
For administrative purposes, Vietnam is divided into 57 provinces and four cities directly under the central government. The provinces are further divided into districts and then villages or communes. At each level, voters elect people’s councils with legislative powers. These councils in turn elect a people’s committee from among their members to serve as an executive body.
In some respects, people’s councils and people’s committees resemble local governments in Western democracies. They have the right to question decisions taken by other governmental organs at their level, but their decisions and actions are subject to review by higher organs of government power. Moreover, decisions by local government organs are normally undertaken in accordance with the instructions of Communist Party committees at that level, although party influence has declined somewhat since the inception of the doi moi (economic renovation) program in the mid-1980s.
Party directives are circulated at the local level through the Fatherland Front, a mass association with branch offices at all administrative levels and among various interest groups in the country.
Vietnam is in practice a one-party state. According to the amended 1992 constitution, the Communist Party is “the force leading the State and society.”
The supreme body of the Vietnamese Communist Party is the National Congress, which meets approximately every five years. Delegates are elected to the Congress by party branches at lower levels. The delegates approve major policy decisions and elect a Central Committee, which functions in the intervals between the National Congresses. The Central Committee holds sessions twice a year to approve decisions by party leaders. The Central Committee also elects a Politburo that serves as the ruling body of the party. The Politburo is currently composed of 19 members and meets several times a month. A Politburo Standing Committee of four members operates as a standing executive body. Membership in the Vietnamese Communist Party is estimated at about 2.2 million.
The Vietnamese armed forces are firmly subordinated to the authority of the government. They are represented at senior levels by a minister of defense in the cabinet, and senior military officials frequently serve in the party Central Committee and Politburo. In addition to local militia units, the military has three branches of service: the army, the navy, and the air force. In 2006 the military contained 455,000 troops. Vietnamese men age 18 to 35 must fulfill a 24-month term of military service; specialists must serve an additional 12 months. "Vietnam" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
Photos of European countries to visit
Photos of Asian countries to visit
Photos of America