The eighth Congress of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) opened in Hanoi on September 26 with the participation of 1,008 delegates representing all walks of life, ethnic groups and religions, as well as members of the armed forces and overseas Vietnamese communities.

The event, themed “Solidarity-Democracy-Innovation”, saw the participation of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Addressing the participants, VFF Central Committee President Nguyen Thien Nhan said the event would focus on reviewing the status of the national solidarity bloc and the outcomes of implementing the front’s action plan from 2009-2014, and setting forth goals and action plan for the 2014-19 term.

The Congress was also scheduled to pass a revised VFF Charter, he said.

In the context of changing the domestic and global situation, it was necessary for VFF research issues carefully in a bid to continue strengthening social consensus, the leader stressed.

Participants also heard a report on the operation of the VFF Central Committee during its seventh tenure, highlighting the results of the front’s action plan for the 2009-2014 period and including measures to enhance its role and position.

The report also pointed out a number of shortcomings, including an overlap of campaigns and a slow reform process on all levels.

During its next term, the VFF needs to focus on renewal, both in terms of operational content and practical measures used to mobilise the national solidarity bloc, the report said.

It also underlined the need to enhance the capacity of the entire front system to realistically respond to the needs on the ground.

Speaking at the congress, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said one of the VFF’s top priorities for the future was to continue building and strengthening national unity and to ensure social consensus in thoughts and actions.

The VFF should also work harder to engage people from all walks of life in the implementation of Party and State policies with the common objective of safeguarding national independence and sovereignty, maintaining socio-political stability, and developing a prosperous and civilised country, he said.

The Party leader urged the VFF to promote the vanguard role of the working class and the large potential of farmers, intellectuals and businesses, while increasing the connections between the classes.

Efforts were also needed to boost the recognition of outstanding individuals from all ethnic groups and religions, as well as the overseas Vietnamese community, he stressed.

The Party chief asked the front to engage in poverty reduction efforts, preserve national culture and new absorb cultural values, and call upon the entire people to become involved in Party-building and policy making.

The Congress runs until September 27.-VNA