Politics and International Relations
More Vietnamese citizens are getting active in expressing their voices on policies, with many forming strategic networks or groups which have tried to dissolve the boundaries demarcated by the state. Also, a lot of Vietnamese social organizations have been actively engaged in Vietnam to promote the democratic values of citizen participation, civil society and state accountability. However, the concepts are still presented in an ambiguous way and space for civil society remains uncertain in Vietnam. The current institutions and discourses demonstrate the Vietnamese state’s firm objective of status quo, which seems to clash with individual political rights and freedom. This research begins with problematizing the gap between the normative values and Vietnamese socio-political realities.
The main objective of this research is to explore the nature of the Vietnamese legal and institutional arrangements in promoting or restraining the democratic values and identify how they interact with any boundaries set in the country where the state takes a dual approach of accommodation and control towards them. A comprehensive review of the institutional framework was carried out, followed by an investigation of the characteristics of political action taken by citizens and social organizations in Vietnam. This research draws on document research and fifty individual interviews with the government, local organizations, and external development agencies conducted in the period of October 2017 to February 2018.