Vietnam holds parliamentary elections during new COVID outbreak | Election News
In this year’s vote, there were fewer members of the National Assembly with 500 seats than ever before.
Vietnamese wearing masks participated in a poll on Sunday. In the rapidly spreading COVID-19 epidemic, tens of millions of people are expected to choose a rubber stamped legislature.
The 500-seat National Assembly for elections is held every five years. Usually after the ruling Communist Party holds a general assembly to elect a new leader, the number of independent candidates is smaller than before.
Although Southeast Asian countries are increasingly open to social change and have a large number of free trade agreements, the Communist Party is one of the last ruling Communist Parties in the world and maintains strict control over Vietnam and its media with few objections.
Nearly 69.2 million registered voters will also vote for members of the provincial and district people’s committees.
Vuong Dinh Hue, chairman of the National Assembly, said before the election: “I hope that all voters who know that they are the owners of the country will vote and choose the most trustworthy and valuable candidate to represent their voice.”
Approximately 92% of the candidates for the National Assembly are members of the Communist Party, and the Communist Party essentially censors independent candidates.
The number of non-party candidates has decreased from 97 in the previous election in 2016 to 74 this year. Local media said that in the past three elections, the number of non-party members of parliament has been reduced by half.
Official data show that 99% of Vietnam’s 67.5 million registered voters participated in the 2016 election.
Voting is anonymous, but the name, age, occupation, race, and address of each voter are posted outside the polling center.
Vietnam is battling a new COVID-19 outbreak, which has spread rapidly and has infected 2,066 people since late April, and the general election is underway.
In the Long Bien district of Hanoi, when it was the turn of the polling station, about 30 voters were lining up wearing masks.
Before queuing, voters took their body temperature at a nearby dining table. Free masks and hand sanitizers were provided at the table, along with speaker announcements to keep a safe distance.
Hue said Sunday’s vote was “the first case of “the most dangerous coronavirus outbreak that has spread to nearly half of the provinces, many of which are under lockdown.”
He said that the organizers have taken measures to ensure that the elections proceed safely.
Election results are usually announced in about two weeks.