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[Media Lines] Vietnam: Electoral process only perpetuates repression, FORUM-ASIA says ahead of Sunday elections

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Ahead of Vietnam’s National Assembly and People’s Council elections set for Sunday, 23 May 2021, FORUM-ASIA Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said:

Elections in Vietnam have only served to reinforce the one-party rule of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and perpetuate its systemic assault on fundamental freedoms. Genuine democratic reform can only begin once Vietnam’s leaders are able to respect and protect the rights of its people, including their right to participate in free and fair elections.

The electoral system has been set up to prevent and crack down on opposing or dissenting individuals from running in the elections. Other opaque regulations plague Vietnam’s electoral process seat quotas for CPV members, a vetting system that allows for the rejection of independent candidates, and a National Election Commission headed by the Chair of the National Assembly.

Instead of providing a meaningful platform for people’s participation, the electoral system only serves to perpetuate an existing system of repression.

Individuals who have expressed opposition or dissent towards the ruling party ahead of the elections are facing reprisals. Many have been arrested under seemingly politically motivated charges.

It is a situation that transcends the elections; under the CPV’s rule, activists and dissenters continuously face intimidation and judicial harassment for speaking out against the government.

An electoral system which only serves to reinforce repression is not a credible or legitimate democratic process. FORUM-ASIA urges Vietnam to take steps towards opening its civic space, including through fulfilling people’s right to actively and meaningfully participate in defining its country’s political vision.


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