Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

The Ward People's Council

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

The Ward People's Council

Article excerpt

The people's council represents local residents, but it also represents the state at the local level; it is at the same time both a people's organ of representation and a state organ of execution.8 An important distinction, however, is that the council does not represent local residents to the state, but instead represent residents to settle local matters among themselves according to the laws and policies laid down by the party-state. In its state executive role, it is differentiated from the people's committee by its function in rubber-stamping state policies for implementation by the people's committee. The people's council election process emphasizes equitable representation from different social and economic sectors, and the selection of candidates is controlled by the VCP through the VFF. All election candidates, including independents, must be approved by the VFF, as required by the election laws.

Under the most recent 1994 Law on Organization of People's Councils and People's Committees, the ward people's council should have twenty-five members who must be living in the locality. They are elected for five-year terms and meet once in six months to discuss local affairs, approve reports and plans, review work-in-progress, and examine the work of the VFF. In between council sessions, the people's committee makes decisions on behalf of the council, in consultation with the council chairman. The council can hold extraordinary meetings but only at the request of the people's committee or one-third of council members. Members of the council volunteer or are voted into the subcommittees handling the political, economic, cultural, and secretarial work of the council. A council member cannot concurrently serve on the subcommittees of the council and on the people's committee at the same level. …

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