02/08/2013, 00.00
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Hanoi, an end to single party rule: petition filed in Parliament

A delegation of 15 signatories to the document handed to the representatives of the Assembly. In the text there are proposals to amend the "foundation" of the regime. The Communist Party as a political force "other" and put to a vote of the electorate. Amendments to the concept of sovereignty and property. Cautious optimism among the promoters.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / EDA) - The end of the single party rule; the introduction of private property and changes to the concept of "sovereignty" as well as full recognition and observance of human rights. These are the main points of the petition for the revision of the 1992 Constitution, delivered by promoters to a group of members of the National Assembly - the local Parliament - which will assess the amendments and, the promoters hope, make a "historic" breakthrough for the country. The text signed and commented on by thousands of citizens, including two bishops in the forefront in supporting the initiative, was delivered on 2 February to the Vice-President of the Commission for constitutional reforms. Leading the "reformist" delegation - made up of 15 of the 72 original signatories of the text, chosen by lot - the former Minister of Justice Nguyen Dinh Loc, engaged in the battle for the modernization of the fundamental law of the state.

The request submitted by the petitioners could profoundly change the face of Vietnam and contains seven proposals to amend the Constitution, the first of which calls into question the "foundation" of the communist regime. The new text is in fact proposes to repeal Article 4, according to which the Party is the only guiding force of the nation and society. It would become a political organization "like any other" and would be submitted to the voters' verdict, without any preference over others.

There are also proposals to adjust the concept of "sovereignty" and "property", laying down the right to the privatization of land and property ownership. Added to this is the recognition of human rights, which would be defined in a list. The new text also lays the ground for the birth of a presidential republic.

Launched last month by intellectuals and activists, the petition asks for a review of the national Constitution of 1992, to put an end to the single communist party hegemony. Among the thousands of signatures received, there are also those of many priests, complete with a reference to their parish, encouraged by the mobilization of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, including the Bishop of Vinh in the north. In his appeal Msgr. Paul Nguyen Thai Hop recalled that Vietnam is going through "a period of transition," in which, "the desire of the people" for "equality, freedom and democracy" is becoming increasingly evident. To this, he added, "we can no longer ignore the need to concretely" deal with "economic, political, social and educational problems."

Among those who signed the document there is also the former Minister of Justice Nguyen Dinh Loc, who led the delegation called upon to deliver the petition. The passage of the document, witnesses said, took place in an atmosphere described as "quite democratic." Interviewed by Radio Free Asia (RFA) Ms. Pham Chi Lan, one of the first signatories of the document, said that it is "in line" with the aspirations of the people. And, she adds, even some Communist leaders are convinced that only "deep reforms" can save the party from the serious crisis which it is experiencing.


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