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The Council of State

The Council of State is the highest standing body of the National Assembly. Its members, who serve as a collective presidency for Vietnam, are elected from among National Assembly deputies. The Council of State is "responsible and accountable" to the National Assembly, according to Chapter VII of the 1980 Constitution. It plays a more active role than the titular presidency provided for in the 1959 constitution and, in addition, it has assumed the day-to-day duties of the former Standing Committee of the National Assembly under the old constitution. The council thus holds both legislative and executive powers, but in actuality it wields less power than the Council of Ministers. As stipulated in the Constitution, the Council of State comprises a chairman, several vice chairmen (there were three in 1987), a general secretary, and members (there were seven in 1987). Members of the Council of State cannot be concurrently members of the Council of Ministers. Its chairman concurrently commands the armed forces and chairs the National Defense Council, which controls the armed forces (see The Armed Forces , ch. 5). The Council of State nominally presides over the election of deputies to the National Assembly; promulgates laws and issues decrees; supervises the work of the Council of Ministers, the Supreme People's Court, the procurator general of the Supreme People's Organ of Control, and the People's Councils at all levels; decides, when the National Assembly is not in session, to form or dissolve ministries and state committees and to appoint or dismiss the vice chairmen of the Council of Ministers, ministers, and heads of state committees; declares a state of war, and orders general or local mobilization in the event of invasion. Such decisions, however, must be submitted to the next session of the National Assembly for ratification. The five-year term of the Council corresponds with that of the National Assembly, but the Council continues its functions until the new National Assembly elects a new Council of State.

Data as of December 1987