Between Trust and Structure: Citizen Participation and Local Elections in Viet Nam
As human and economic development in Viet Nam has increased over the nearly three decades of Đổi mới (‘Renewal’), people’s expectations of governance are also changing. Viet Nam’s Constitution and political structure offer opportunities for citizens to participate in governance both directly (through in-person engagement at the local level) and indirectly (through voting for People’s Council and National Assembly delegates). These forms of participation can be summarised in the two familiar slogans of ‘People know, people discuss, people do, and people monitor’, and ‘Government of the people, by the people, and for the people’. Yet the implementation of legal rights to participation often lags behind the letter of the law. How can citizens be more actively involved in public decision making?
This research report is the result of collaboration between the international non-governmental organisation, Oxfam and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to examine and analyse citizen participation in policy-making processes and political life. It forms part of a series of UNDP-commissioned studies on Viet Nam’s governance and public administration performance conceived on the basis of the wealth of data and information provided by the Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI). The report employs an innovative combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis to compare citizen participation at the national level with in-depth conditions in local communities.