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Deepening Democracy and Increasing Popular Participation in Viet Nam

Deepening Democracy and Increasing Popular Participation in Viet Nam Author: UNDP Viet Nam

Jun 14, 2013

Viet Nam’s 1998 Decree on Grassroots Democracy (dan chu co so) put in place the legal framework required to expand direct citizen participation in local government. The decree established new mechanisms to enable citizens to exercise their rights to be informed of government activities that affect them, to discuss and contribute to the formulation of certain policies, to participate in local development activities and to supervise government performance. In addition, a number of related legal instruments have also been promulgated over recent years including a Public Administration master plan, a decentralised State Budget Law, a new law on Complaints and Petitions of Citizens and the first official ordinance on anti-corruption measures.

This discussion paper assesses these and other new trends through a discussion of the role of citizens in local government and the relationship between citizens and the state in twenty-first century Viet Nam. The main objective of the paper is to assess both the level of participation of citizens in local government and the responsiveness of government to efforts to increase participation.

The paper concludes that expanding the space for participation in Viet Nam must come about through both direct and indirect democratic reforms.

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