On 28 and 29 June, 2012 the Institute for Legislative Studies (ILS) of the National Assembly Standing Committee of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with the support from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) organized an international workshop on “Experiences in organizing and operating research and information services for National Assemblies of Cambodia, Lao, Vietnam and Germany” in Hue.
Parliamentarianism describes a form of power in which the parliament, elected by the people, is the center of a state. The parliament has crucial functions in political decision-making, such as law making processes, budgetary control as well as approving and monitoring the government. In order to fulfill his or her tasks in a qualified and reliable way, each member of a parliament needs access to information, to profound and evidence based data as well as competences in processing, analyzing, understanding and using the provided knowledge. Accordingly, RLS includes capacity building activities for parliamentarians into its engagement in order to contribute to improved and emancipatory means of people’s participation and the implementation of rule of law.
National Assemblies in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are young institutions that have experienced important changes during the past years. They play an increasingly important role for the legislative process and participatory decision-making. Although the parliaments of these three countries have developed in a professional and profound way in their functions there is still a need for training, organizational development and capacity building of their representatives. In Vietnam the Institute for Legislative Studies plays a crucial role to fulfill this task. The ILS provides information and research results to the delegates of the National Assembly; it is further a platform for capacity building.
The workshop in Hue invited Members of the Parliaments from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to share experiences and formulate needs for scientific support in their daily work. Steffen Bockhahn, Member of the Bundestag, held a presentation on the „Need and advantages of supporting Members of the Parliament in a Democratic and Modern Society – Experiences from Germany” which provided a comprehensive and vivid picture of parliamentary work and its need for assistance of research services and staff. Furthermore, representatives from the Information and Research Services of the for countries exchanged information on their general functions, their scope of work, needs for improvement and support as well as main challenges and short-comings. Dr. Guido Heinen, Head of the Bundestag’s department of Research Services Directorate, gave a distinguished presentation on the role and function of the Research Services of the Bundestag and their responsibility in “Supporting MPs for their everyday work”. Dr. Heinen’s presentation pointed out the positioning of the Research Services at the interface between sciences and politics and the incorporated requirement for neutrality. An interesting addition was made by the presentation of Katja Rom, Research assistant of Steffen Bockhahn. She elaborated her responsibilities in accompanying the work of the MP with regards to content which helped the participants to get a very practical insight into the daily parliamentary work in Germany. Mr. Reginald Todd from the Legislative Research Program that is supporting the Vietnamese National Assembly added an overview on the Congressional Research Service of the United States Congress.
The workshop was concluded by Dr. Dinh Xuan Thao, President of the ILS and Nadja Charaby, Country Representative of RLS. Both emphasized the importance of this event and its high level of qualified exchange together with the expectation that the workshop served as an initial step for future cooperation between the Information and Research Services as well as the Parliaments of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Germany as well as the ILS and RLS.
A Study on Vietnam’s 13th National Assembly Election by RLS Vietnam provides a brief and comprehensive overview on the parliementary system in Vietnam. It can be downloaded here.