Vietnam Legislative Elections: May 23, 2021

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

Not Free
Government Type
Communist State
99 million
Legislative Elections
May 23, 2021
Legislative Elections
May 22, 2016

Vietnam is due to hold legislative elections on May 23, 2021.

Political Context

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.

Curated News and Analysis

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

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Updated October 19, 2020

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