Vietnam’s National Assembly building, where the legislature meets. Legislative elections in Vietnam are due on May 23, 2021. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Grayswoodsurrey (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Freedom House Rating
May 23, 2021
May 22, 2016
Vietnam is due to hold legislative elections on May 23, 2021.
Vietnam is a one-party communist state. As such, for the most part, only candidates from the Communist Party of Vietnam and those who support it are able to run. Since 2002, Vietnam has allowed independent candidates, but they must be approved by the Communist Party in order to appear on the ballot. Furthermore, independent candidates are effectively barred from campaigning.
In addition, dissidents face arrest and assault. Most recently, authorities arrested blogger Pham Doan Trang, one of Vietnam’s most prominent democracy activists, right after holding talks with the United States about human rights.
In short, elections in Vietnam offer very little genuine choice to voters, and no prospects for political change.
Editorial Board, Washington Post (October 8, 2020): A dissident jailed in Vietnam shares her message: Don’t free me, free my country
BBC (October 7, 2020): Pham Doan Trang: Vietnam arrests leading pro-democracy blogger
Hai Hong Ngyuen, Asia Times (January 9, 2020): Vietnam prepares for ‘four pillars’ elections
Simon Lewis, Time (May 23, 2016): Vietnam Gets to Vote in Elections, but the Communist Party Picks Who’s on the Ballot
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Updated October 19, 2020