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Talks of additional elections to fill Vietnam’s 500 legislature seats

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 18:01 GMT+7
Talks of additional elections to fill Vietnam’s 500 legislature seats
Nguyen Hanh Phuc, chief of the National Election Council Office, speaks to the media after the press conference announcing the final list of candidates for the 14th National Assembly of Vietnam in Hanoi on April 26, 2016.

Some provinces and cities in Vietnam are seeking permission to hold additional elections after preliminary results of the national ballot to select members of the lawmaking National Assembly on Sunday showed that the number of deputies elected was fewer than the expected 500.

Eligible citizens across the country cast their votes on Sunday to elect 500 members to Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly for the 2016-2021 tenure.

Vietnam’s National Election Council said it had received reports from provincial and municipal election committees stating that the quota of assigned seats after vote counting had not been met.

Among the affected localities are Can Tho City and Soc Trang Province, which lacked two and one deputies respectively.

According to Vietnamese laws, a candidate must receive no less than 50 percent of the valid votes to be eligible for a seat in the assembly.

If more candidates than the assigned number of deputies for a province or city acquire 50 percent of the valid votes, the winners will be selected from top down in terms of their number of votes.

Heads of the election committees of Can Tho and Soc Trang have confirmed that they had requested to hold additional elections to fill the assigned seats.

Chief of the National Election Council Office Nguyen Hanh Phuc said in an interview on Monday with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that it was up to the council to decide on a case by case basis whether or not they allow a province or city to hold additional elections.

“The National Election Council will base their decision on the overall picture of the National Assembly as well as the specific conditions of those locales that are short of elected deputies,” an election expert said. “If a constituency is assigned two seats in the National Assembly but only one candidate won enough votes, then it would deeply affect the representation of that constituency.”

Phuc said the additional elections must be held no later than 15 days after the first election, citing Vietnamese laws.

“In the additional election, voters will only choose among candidates in the initial lists who had failed to accumulate enough votes in the first election. Those who win more votes than the others with no less than half of the valid votes will be the winners,” Phuc said.

Meanwhile, other provinces that failed to reach the quota had opted not to request any additional election.

The Election Committee of Dong Nai Province in southern Vietnam said that despite being one deputy short of the assigned 12 seats, the province had asked for no additional election, saying its constituency is not affected by the shortage.

Likewise, Hoang Van Chat, Party chief and chairman of the People’s Council of Son La Province in northern Vietnam, said the stance of his province is not necessarily to hold additional ballots.

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