Political situation Communist party controls state and society

Viet Nam is a socialist republic and a one-party state in which the Communist Party controls state and society. There is no organised opposition and no separation of powers as would be required by the rule of law, nor are there free elections or an independent judiciary. The government, parliament, administrative bodies and the administration of justice are controlled by the party leadership.

The Ho-Chi-Minh mausoleum in Hanoi, Viet Nam

The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi, Viet Nam

The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi, Viet Nam

Laws and budget decisions are formally adopted by the National Assembly. Its members are usually also members of the Communist Party. In the past few years, the National Assembly has become more independent as a government organ, and more assertive in exercising its constitutional role of checking government actions.

Fundamental political rights are subject to major restrictions

Regarding national economic and social development, the government pursues very development-oriented and reform-oriented policies. However, fundamental political and civil rights such as freedom of speech, assembly and association cannot be exercised freely by the people. Space for civil society is very restricted. In particular, human rights activists and environmental activists are facing growing government repression.

The 2021 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders ranks Viet Nam 175th out of 180 countries evaluated. The government is also taking severe action against internet users. There is government surveillance of blogs and social media. Critical voices are frequently prosecuted. In the 2021 Freedom on the Net report published by Freedom House, Viet Nam ranks among the bottom nations of the 70 countries evaluated.

As part of its decentralisation policy, the Vietnamese government has transferred comprehensive administrative and budget powers to the provinces. However, responsibilities are not clearly allocated, the work of government authorities is often inefficient, and there is a lack of transparency and accountability.

On the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (External link) published by Transparency International, Viet Nam is ranked 87th out of the 180 countries rated.

Agenda 2030

In 2017, the Vietnamese government adopted a national action plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In that plan, Viet Nam commits to implementing 17 “Vietnam Sustainable Development Goals”. The socioeconomic development strategy for 2021 to 2030, which was published in 2021, is also geared towards achieving the Development Goals.

Foreign policy

In its foreign policy, Viet Nam is keen to cultivate close relations with its neighbours and is stepping up its participation in international institutions and its economic cooperation with other countries. The country plays an active role within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The European Union is one of Viet Nam's most important trading partners. In 2012, the EU and Viet Nam signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. After long negotiations, a free trade agreement entered into force on 1 August 2020.

As at: 22/06/2022