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CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
(1946)


PreambleEdit

The August Revolution has recovered sovereignty for the nation and freedom for the people and set up the democratic republican regime.

After eighty years of struggle, the Vietnamese nation has cast off the colonial yoke and subsequently overthrown the monarchic regime. Our Fatherland has embarked on a new path.

The national tasks in the present stage are to safeguard the territory, recover total independence and build the country on a democratic basis.

Entrusted by all the citizens with the task of drawing up the first constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the National Assembly recognizes that the Constitution should embody the glorious success of the Revolution and base itself on the following principles:

1. To unite the entire population regardless of ethnic origin, sex, class or religion;

2. To guarantee democratic liberties;

3. To establish the strong and enlightened power of the people.

Inspired by its tradition of solidarity and struggle based upon a system of broad democracy, an independent and unified Vietnam is advancing along the path of glory and happiness, in keeping with universal progress and in conformity with the aspirations for peace of the peoples of the world.

Chapter I: The Political RegimeEdit

Article 1.
Vietnam is a democratic republic.
All national powers belong to the entire Vietnamese people regardless of race, gender, economic conditions, social class, and religion
Article 2.
The territory of Vietnam — North, Center and South — is a single, indivisible whole.
Article 3.
The national flag of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is a red flag with a five-pointed gold star in the middle.
The national anthem is Tiến Quân Ca.
The capital is Hanoi.

Chapter II: Duties and Rights of CitizensEdit

Part A. DutiesEdit

Article 4.
Every Vietnamese citizen has the duty to:
  • defend the Fatherland;
  • respect the Constitution;
  • abide by the law.
Article 5.
Vietnamese citizens must fulfill their military obligations.

Part B. RightsEdit

Article 6.
All Vietnamese citizens are equal in every respect in political, economic and cultural matters.
Article 7.
All Vietnamese citizens are equal before the law and can take part in public activities and the building of the Fatherland according to their abilities and moral qualities.
Article 8.
In addition to having equality of rights, persons belonging to ethnic minorities should be given every kind of help by the State so that they may quickly reach the common level of the nation.
Article 9.
Women are equal to men in every respect.
Article 10.
Vietnamese Citizens enjoy these democratic freedoms:
  • freedom of opinion;
  • freedom of the press;
  • freedom of assembly and association;
  • freedom of conscience;
  • freedom of residence and of travel within the country and abroad.
Article 11.
No Vietnamese citizen can be arrested or imprisoned without a decision from the courts. The residence and privacy of correspondence of Vietnamese citizens are inviolable.
Article 12.
The right to private property is guaranteed.
Article 13.
The rights and interests of manual and intellectual workers are guaranteed.
Article 14.
The State helps the elderly and the disabled who are incapable of providing for themselves. It attends to the education of children.
Article 15.
Primary education is compulsory and free. In the regions inhabited by ethnic minorities, students shall have the right to receive primary school education in the language of that minority.
The State grants support to poor students.
Private schools may be opened freely, and shall teach according to the State-issued curriculum.
Article 16.
Foreigners persecuted for their actions for freedom and democracy are granted the right of asylum on Vietnamese soil.

Part C. Election, Recall, and ReferendumEdit

Article 17.
Elections are by universal suffrage. Voting shall be free, direct and by secret ballot.
Article 18.
All citizens over 18 years of age without distinction of sex enjoy the right to vote, except for the insane and those deprived of civil rights.
Anyone who stands for election must enjoy the right to vote and, in addition, be at least 21 years old and know how to read and write in Vietnamese. Citizens in active military service also enjoy the right to vote and to stand for election.
Article 19.
The electoral system will be determined by law.
Article 20.
Electors may recall their represnetatives before the expiration of their term as provided in Articles 41 and 61.
Article 21.
The people have the right to ratify the Constitution as well as decisions affecting national destiny by referendum as provided in Articles 32 and 70.

Chapter III: The National AssemblyEdit

Article 22.
The National Assembly is the highest authority of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Article 23.
The National Assembly decides all questions of national interest, approves the budget and ratifies treaties signed by the government.
Article 24.
The National Assembly is elected by Vietnamese Citizens. Its term is three years.
The number of members is fixed at one for each fifty thousand of the population.
Representation of major cities and regions inhabited by ethnic minorities will be determined by law.
Article 25.
Members of the National Assembly represent not only their particular constituency, but the entire people.
Article 26.
The National Assembly is the sole judge of its Members' eligibility.
Article 27.
The National Assembly elects its Speaker and two Deputy Speakers, as well as the twelve full and three alternate members of its Standing Committee.
The Speaker and Deputy Speakers of the National Assembly are respectively the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of its Standing Committee.
Article 28.
The National Assembly meets in ordinary session twice a year, commencing on May and November and convened by its Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee may convene an extraordinary session if necessary.
The Standing Committee must convene an extraordinary session if the government or of at least one-third of its total Membership so request.
Article 29.
The National Assembly's quorum consists of more than half of its total Membership.
The National Assembly makes its decisions by the vote of a majority of the Members present.
When the National Assembly decides on a declaration of war, the quorum is raised to two-thirds of the members.
Article 30.
The National Assembly meets in public.
The Press may publish the proceedings and decisions of the National Assembly.
In special cases, the National Assembly may hold a private meeting.
Article 31.
The laws voted by the National Assembly will be submitted to the President of the Republic for promulgation within ten days from the date of receipt. During this time the President may request the Assembly to reconsider the law, but has to promulgate that law if it is reaffirmed by the National Assembly.
Article 32.
Decisions affecting affecting national destiny may be submitted to the people for decision by means of a referendum, with the agreement of two-thirds of the total Membership of the National Assembly.
Article 33.
The National Assembly may decide to dissolve itself by a two-thirds majority of its total Membership.
Dissolution is pronounced by the Standing Committee on behalf of the National Assembly.
Article 34.
At the dissolution of the National Assembly, or at the end of its term, the Standing Committee remains in being until the election of the new Assembly.
Article 35.
Two months before the end of the National Assembly's term, the Standing Committee calls new elections. The election of a National Assembly must be held within two months before the outgoing National Assembly's term expires.
At the dissolution of the National Assembly, the Standing Committee calls new elections at once. The election of a National Assembly must be held within two months after the dissolution.
Not later than one month after the election, the Standing Committee must convene the new National Assembly.
In the event of war the National Assembly or its Standing Committee has the right to prolong sine die the term of a National Assembly whose term has expired. New elections must be held within six months after the end of hostilities.
Article 36.
During the recess of the National Assembly, the Standing Committee has the right:
(a) to issue decree-laws. These decree-laws must be submitted to the National Assembly for ratification or rejection at the start of the Assembly's session.
(b) to convene the National Assembly.
(c) to supervise and scrutinize the government.
Article 37.
The Standing Committee makes its decisions by the vote of a majority of its total Membership.
Article 38.
During the recess of the National Assembly, the Standing Committee has the right to declare war and peace jointly with the Government.
Article 39.
At the beginning of each session, after the Standing Committee reports on its work, the issue of confidence in the Standing Committee may be raised upon a proposal of a quarter of the total membership of the National Assembly. The Standing Committee which has lost the National Assembly's conference must resign. The former Standing Committee's membership may be re-elected.
Article 40.
No Member of the National Assembly can be arrested or prosecuted without the agreement of the National Assembly, or, during its recess, of the Standing Committee.
No Member of the National Assembly can be prosecuted for specches made or votes cast by him in the Assembly.
In case he is caught in an illegal act, a Member of the National Assembly can be immediately arrested, but the Standing Committee of the National Assembly must be informed within twenty-four hours at the latest. The Standing Committee or the National Assembly itself, if it is in session, will decide the matter.
If a Member of the National Assembly becomes disqualified for election, he must give up his seat.
Article 41.
When at least one quarter of the electors of any constituency demand the recall of its Member of the National Assembly, the Assembly must put the case to debate. If the proposal is accepted by two-thirds of the total membership of the Assembly, the Member concerned must give up his seat.
Article 42.
The salaries of Members of the National Assembly will be determined by law.

Chapter IV: The GovernmentEdit

Article 43.
The supreme executive authority of the state is the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Article 44.
The Government is composed of the President and Vice-President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers consists of the Prime Minister, Ministers and Deputy Ministers. There may also be a Deputy Prime Minister.
Article 45.
The President of the Republic is elected by and from within the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority of its total Membership.
If no-one is successfully elected in the first ballot, a simple majority is suffecient for the second ballot.
The President of the Republic is elected for a term of five years and is eligible for re-election.
One month before the end of the President's term, the Standing Committee convenes the National Assembly to elect the new President.
Article 46.
The Vice-President is chosen from the people and elected by an ordinary ballot.
The term of the Vice-President follows that of the National Assembly which elected him.
The Vice-President assists the President.
In the event of the President's death or resignation, the Vice-President acts as President for a maximum of two months pending the election of a new President.
Article 47.
The Prime Minister is chosen by the President of the Republic from the National Assembly and presented by the President for the Assembly's approval. He chooses the ministers himself from the members of the National Assembly and submits the complete list to the Assembly's approval. The Deputy Ministers may be chosen from outside the National Assembly; they will be proposed by the Prime

Minister at the Council of Ministers.

Members of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly may not simultaneously serve in the Government.
Article 48.
If the office of any Minister falls vacant, the Prime Minister may choose a substitute Minister jointly with the Standing Committee pending the approval of a permanent replacement by the National Assembly.
Article 49.
The President of the Republic has the following attributes:
(a) He is the representative of the nation.
(b) He is the Commander-in-Chief of the entire armed forces of the state, and appoints and dismisses generals in the army, admirals in the navy, and air chief marshals in the air force.
(c) He signs the decrees appointing the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers and high-ranking civil servants.
(d) He chairs the Government.
(e) He promulgates laws that have been decided by the Parliament.
(f) He grants medals and state honors.
(g) He grants pardon in individual cases.
(h) He signs treaties with foreign countries.
(i) He appoints diplomatic representatives of Vietnam in foreign countries and recieves diplomatic representatives from other countries.
(j) He declares war and peace as provided in Article 38.
Article 50.
The President of the Republic is not answerable to any organ of government except in the case of high treason.
Article 51.
When it Impeaches the President, Vice President or a Cabinet employee on charges of treason, the National Assembly will establish a special court to try the Impeachment. For regular crimes, no Member of the Council of Ministers can be arrested or prosecuted without the agreement of the Council of Ministers.
Article 52.
The Government has the following powers:
(a) To implement the laws and resolutions of the National Assembly.
(b) To propose bills before the Parliament.
(c) To propose decree-bills before the Standing Committee, while the National Assembly is in recess and a special case so warrants.
(d) To abolish orders and resolutions of lower authorities, if necessary.
(e) To appoint and dismiss civil servants in administrative or professional agencies.
(f) To decide on the enforcement of mobilization or other measures necessary to ensure national security.
(g) To formulate the draft of the annual budget.
Article 53.
Decrees of the Government must be signed by the President of the Republic and countersigned by the ministers concerned. Each minister is answerable to the National Assembly.
Article 54.
A Minister who has lost the National Assembly's conference must resign.
The resignation of one Minister does not affect the posftions of the other members of the Council of Ministers.
The Primer Minister alone is responsible for the political line of the Council of Ministers, but questions of confidence affecting him can be raised before the National Assembly only by the Standing Committee, or by one quarter of the total membership of the Assembly, or by the Prime Minister himself.
In case of a vote of no confidence in the Council of Ministers as a whole, the President of the Republic may, within 24 hours, request a second debate which will take place not earlier than 48 hours after the first deliberation. If the National Assembly reaffirms its vote the Council of Ministers as a whole must resign.
Article 55.
The ministers must reply orally or in writing to the questions raised in the National Assembly or its Standing Committee no later than the tenth day after the date of receipt of the letter submitting the question.
Article 56.
At the dissolution of the National Assembly, or at the end of its term, the Council of Ministers remains in being until the election of the new Assembly.

Chapter V: The People's Councils and Administrative CommitteesEdit

Article 57.
Administratively Vietnam's national territory is divided into regions – North, Center, and South. Each region is subdivided into provinces and municipalities; each province into districts and each district into communes.
Article 58.
In each province or municipality, urban center and commune, there exists a people's council elected by universal and direct ballot.
The people's councils of provinces, municipalities, urban centers and communes elect in turn an administrative committee.
At the regional and district level there is only an administrative committee. The regional administrative committee is appointed by the people's councils of all the provinces and municipalities in the region. The district administrative committee is elected by the people's councils of all the communes in the district.
Article 59.
The people's councils discuss questions within their jurisdiction. Their decisions may not conflict with those of higher levels. The administrative committees have the following powers:
(a) To execute orders passed down from higher levels.
(b) To carry out decisions of people's councils on matters under their jurisdiction, duly approved by higher levels.
(c) To run the administration of that level.
Article 60.
Each administrative committee is responsible to the higher level as well as to the people's council at its own level.
Article 61.
Members of people's councils and administrative committees may be recalled before their term expires. The procedure for recall will be determined by law.
Article 62.
The detailed organization of People's Councils and Administrative Committees will be determined by law.

Chapter VI: The Judicial BodiesEdit

Article 63.
The judiciary is composed of:
(a) the Supreme Court.
(b) the Courts of Appeal.
(c) the second-and first-degree courts.
Aritcle 64.
The judges are appointed by the government.
Aritcle 65.
In criminal cases the tribunals are assisted by people's assessors who express their opinion to the presiding judge in cases of minor offences, and take part in the judgment in cases of felonies.
Aritcle 66.
Citizens of ethnic minorities have the right to be heard before the court in their mother tongues.
Article 67.
Hearings are public save in exceptional cases. The accused has the right to defend himself or use the counsel of a lawyer.
Article 68.
It is strictly forbidden to beat, torture or inflict cruelties on the accused and the prisoners.
Article 69.
In the exercise of their judicial functions, the judges obey only the law. Outside intervention in a trial is forbidden.

Chapter VII: Amendment of the Constitution.Edit

Article 70.
The amendment of the Constitution will be made as follows:
(a) at least two-thirds of the total membership of the National Assembly may request an amendment.
(b) In this case, the National Assembly appoints a commission to draft the amendment.
(c) The amendments to the Constitution will be voted by the National Assembly and submitted to popular ratification by means of a referendum.