Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, May 23 (EFE).- Vietnamese voters headed to the polls Sunday to elect members of the National Assembly and local councils in a process heavily vetted by the Communist Party, the only legal political faction in the country since 1975.
Some 868 candidates are running for the 500 National Assembly seats for the next five years, of which just 74 are running as independents, who, in any case, need the tacit approval of the Communist Party.
There are a total of 343 women on the candidate list, according to Radio Free Asia. Authorities want to boost the representation of women in parliament from 27% to 30% by 2030.
Around 69 million people are eligible to vote in Vietnam.
Over the last few months, Vietnamese police have arrested or pressed charges against several independent candidates for sharing “information against the State,” including blogger Tran Quoc Khanh and journalist Le Trong Hung, Radio Free Asia reports.
The political campaign has been largely non-existent in the lead-up to voting, which is taking place amid extra health and safety protocols due to a fresh outbreak of Covid-19.
Thanks to its tough response to the pandemic, Vietnam has registered a total of just 5,100 cases and 41 deaths related to Covid-19.
Vietnam’s parliament works primarily as a rubber-stamp legislature for the Communist Party. EFE