HA NOI (VNS) - Viet Nam held a commemoration event yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of the first general election in which Vietnamese cast their votes to establish the first National Assembly (NA).
On January 6, 1946, roughly five months after the country's historic Declaration of Independence on September 2 the previous year, all eligible Vietnamese citizens over the age of 18 across the country went to polling stations to vote for their representatives in the administration - the NA.
"The major event was a grand milestone in the history of our country, marking a leap in its democractic institution and opened up a new development stage for Viet Nam," said Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in his address at the event attended by top Vietnamese and foreign leaders like Lao's NA President Pany Yathotu and her Cambodian counterpart Heng Samrin.
"That was the first time Vietnamese rose from their slave lives to become citizens of a free and independent nation who could decide their fate," Trong said.
Since the first general election, of which the voter turnout reached nearly 90 per cent, "our country has had a representative agency for the wills, the desires and the rights to mastery of the citizens," he said.
During the nation's industrialisation, modernisation and international integration process, the legislative body has tough tasks that require it to build on the achievements gained over the past 70 years to increase the quality and efficiency of its operations to better meet the requirements in the new period of development, the leader said.
Together with boosting legislative activities, the NA should renovate and raise the effectiveness of its supervision work with the focus on big and urgent socio-economic issues.
The law-making body needs to make qualitative decisions on the country's important issues to ensure the national interests meet people's will and aspirations and step up external relations and parliamentary diplomacy in order to contribute to the successful implementation of the foreign policy of openness, multilateralisation and diversification of the Party and State, he suggested.
The impact of the first general election went far beyond Viet Nam's borders as it at the time created the first people's democracy in Southeast Asia and Africa, the two regions where many countries were still enduring imperialism, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung told Vietnam News Agency.
"Viet Nam's August Revolution and its first general election had brought about a remarkable impact that soon triggered a national liberation movement across the region and in the world," he said.
The victory of the August Revolution against the Japanese fascists and the French colonialists on August 19, 1945, was a milestone in Viet Nam's history that led to the formation of a uniform government for the entire country.
The first NA, in office for 14 years from 1946, stationed the political and legislative grounds for the newborn government with the release of the first Constitution in 1946 and another amended one in 1959 and many other legislations to build a complete governmental system.
Through 70 years since the first general election, the NA "has done a great job as a legislative body," said Hung.
The latest Constitution was amended in 2013.