Vietnamese Perception on Democracy and Democracy as a Source of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Legitimacy


Nguyen Hoang Thanh Danh


     This study aims to examine the perception of Vietnamese voters on democracy and democracy as a source of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s legitimacy. The Communist Party of Vietnam, the dictatorial ruling party of Vietnam since the unification of the country in April 1975, has based their legitimacy on the claims that they liberated the working class through proletarian revolution, fought for the independence of the country, and has been developing the economy of the country so as to give Vietnamese better standard of living. However, as waves of democratization sweeping the world and democracy is usually perceived as a more preferable system than dictatorship by the people, the Communist Party of Vietnam has been attempting to maintain their legitimacy by putting a lot of effort in presenting themselves as a democratic regime. In order to study Vietnamese perception on democracy and democracy as a source of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s legitimacy, the author surveyed more than one thousand Vietnamese in the course of two weeks after the 2016 parliamentary election of Vietnam. The respondents are Vietnamese voters who were selected using convenience sampling, one type of non-probability sampling. The outcomes were starling but not surprising, the majority of Vietnamese voters expressed disbelief on the country’s political situation in general and government’s transparency and accountability in particular. Respondents also revealed that they prefer a more democratic and transparent regime. Most respondents also prefer democracy, arguing that being democratic plays a critical role in economic development. However, according to them, a multiparty electoral system is not the most important criterion for democracy. Some respondents showed a great deal of tolerance to the Communist Party despite acknowledging its bad governance and widespread corruption, which may suggest that the Communist Party of Vietnam is still perceived to be obedient-worthy by a certain proportion of the population. These results suggest the relevance of recent economic growth, the rise of nationalism and, perhaps to a lesser extent, socialism as a state building ideology as sources of the legitimacy of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Keywords: Vietnam, Public Perception, Democracy, Legitimacy


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Research Articles


How to Cite
THANH DANH, Nguyen Hoang. Vietnamese Perception on Democracy and Democracy as a Source of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Legitimacy. Journal of Community Development Research (Humanities and Social Sciences), [S.l.], v. 11, n. 4, p. 159-174, dec. 2018. ISSN 2539-5521. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 jan. 2019. doi: