Politburo member and National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong has written an article, highlighting the glorious history of the NA as the country is celebrating the 65 th anniversary of the first General Election.

On January 6, 1946, just five months after gaining independence, while facing a broad range of difficulties, our people, under the sound leadership of the Party and President Ho Chi Minh, successfully organised the General Election, electing the first NA of a new Vietnam by a democratic, equitable and direct ballot.

This extremely important event went down in our country’s history as a vivid milestone, marking a great step-forward in the country’s democratic institution and ushering in a new period of development of the nation.

Right after its inception, the first NA (1946-1960) made huge contributions to strengthening independence, building the democratic republic state and successfully conducting the resistance war against the French colonialists.

During 14 years of operation, the first NA considered and promulgated the 1946 Constitution and the 1959 Constitution, 11 laws and 50 resolutions, especially the establishment of a constitutional and legal government headed by President Ho Chi Minh, and ensured the government’s prestige and efficiency to lead the people in the resistance war, national construction and execution of internal and external policies.

Experiencing five terms from 1960-1980 and operating under the 1959 Constitution, the NA upheld its important role in mobilising human and material resources to build socialism in the North and struggle for southern liberation and national reunification.

During the years of 1980-1992, operating in line with the 1980 Constitution, the NA’s functions and tasks were prescribed more fully and specifically. The NA was defined as the people’s highest representative agency, the most powerful body of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the only agency to have constitutional and legislative power.

As the country has embarked on the renewal process since 1986, the NA’s position and role have been strengthened and its prestige has been improved.

The eighth NA (1987-1992) was the NA of the beginning stage of the nation’s comprehensive renewal process. Since 1992 to date, being organised and operated under the 1992 Constitution and experiencing almost four terms, the NA has seen major and sound reforms. The quality of law making has been improved, ensuring the constitutionality, legality, unity and synchronism of a legal system with more specific regulations.

The NA made a lot of important decisions, including those on the State’s apparatus and high-ranking personnel; considering and adopting resolutions on State budget estimates, balances and allocations; resolutions on annual and five-year socio-economic development tasks and plans; 10-year socio-economic development strategies; ratifying international conventions and treaties that Vietnam has signed or joined in; and deciding investments in key national projects.

At meetings, the NA spent much time on considering and discussing the government’s reports; enhancing its supervision, focusing on urgent matters and issues of voters’ concern; and improving the efficiency of hearing sessions.

In foreign affairs, the parliament has also promoted and expanded operations both bilaterally and multilaterally. It is currently a member of international organisations such as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP), the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), the Francophone Parliamentary Alliance (APF) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Not only being a dynamic member of these organisations, the Vietnamese NA has actively put forth many important initiatives to strengthen solidarity, friendship and cooperation among parliaments. In particular, it assumed the Chair of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO) (now the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly) for the 2001-2002 term and the AIPA presidency for the 2009-2010 term. The NA successfully hosted the 23 rd AIPO General Assembly (AIPO-23) in September 2002 and the 31 st AIPA General Assembly (AIPA-31) in September 2010.

Recently, the Vietnamese NA was elected as Vice Chair of the IPU Assembly for the 2010-2011 term, marking the rapid development of the country’s parliamentary diplomacy.

Looking back at the 65-year stage of establishment and development of the Vietnamese NA, we recognise that:

First, the formation of the NA was the result of our people’s revolutionary struggle under the judicious leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh.

Second, since its inception, the NA has always been the embodiment of the great national unity bloc, representing people from all walks of life and stratum, and jointly implementing the goal of national construction and defence.

Third, the idea of the NA’s position and nature has been consistently asserted in the Party’s political platform and guidelines, and institutionalised in our country’s Constitutions.

Fourth, the formation and development of the NA constitute a consecutive inheritance process, with endless reforms in terms of both organisation and operation, timely meeting the strategic tasks during each revolutionary stage.

Fifth, ensuring and strengthening the Party’s leadership are a decisive factor for the NA to become the people’s highest representative agency and the country’s most powerful body, and excellently accomplish important tasks assigned by the people.

This is not only the fundamental principle in executing State power as well as in the State apparatus’s organisation and operations, but also the viewpoint in guiding the renewal process, perfecting the State, ensuring the State operates in line with the Party’s political direction, and establishing fine relations between the NA and other agencies of the State apparatus.

Enhancing the Party’s leadership over the State is always combined with renewing and rectifying the Party, including renewing the Party’s leadership content and method over the State in general and the NA in particular./.