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Vietnam legislature adopts law on referendum, among others

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 15:34 GMT+7
Vietnam legislature adopts law on referendum, among others
Legislators are ready to press the button to pass laws during a National Assembly meeting in Hanoi on November 25, 2015.

Vietnam’s law-making National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday approved several new human rights-related laws, the most prominent of which are those on referendum and temporary custody and detention.

With a majority of votes, the legislature passed the Law on Referendums, which has 52 articles and will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Under the new legislation, the NA has the right to conduct a referendum to gather opinions of people on key issues of the country.

These issues include a part of the Constitution; special problems related to sovereignty, national territory, and defense, security and external relations that directly affect national interests; crucial social and economic matters that significantly influence the country’s development; and other important issues.

A referendum is valid when at least three quarters of the total number of voters nationwide take part, and its results are recognized only when over half of the eligible ballots are cast, the law says.

For a referendum on Constitution-related issues, its results are valid only when at least two-thirds of the total qualified votes are counted, according to the law.

Notably though, the result of a referendum is final and decisive in the issue raised for feedback from the public, according to Article 11 of the legislation.

That means the result of a referendum will take effect directly, without having to undergo any examination by any agency.

Another important law the NA ratified on Wednesday is the Law on Temporary Custody and Detention, which recognizes the right to vote for people who have yet to be sentenced.

Under the law, people in temporary custody or detention shall be entitled to vote pursuant to Articles 29 and 30 of the Law on Election of Deputies of the National Assembly and People’s Councils.

That means people in temporary custody and detention are eligible to be put on the lists of voters at elections of deputies of the National Assembly and the province- and city-level People’s Councils in the localities where they are in temporary custody or detention, the NA Standing Committee said.

The Law on Temporary Custody and Detention will also take effect on July 1, 2016.

The NA yesterday passed the revised Code on Civil Procedure with the majority of votes as well.  

On the same day, the legislature elected NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung to be chairman of the 21-member National Election Council.

The law-making body also appointed Nguyen Hanh Phuc, chairman of the NA Office, as NA Secretary General.

The legislature set May 22, 2016 as the date for election of deputies of the NA and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2016-21 term.

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