The supremacy of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has been the basic norm in Vietnam’s constitution since 1980. While it was not changed in the final constitutional amendments in 2013, this grundnorm was seriously debated during the constitutional reform process between 2010-2013, thus indicating a shift in the constitutional dialogue in Vietnam. This article traces the history of this basic norm throughout constitutional amendments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) and assesses how the basic norm has become increasingly contested. Contestations over this basic norm have played out markedly over the recent constitutional reform process. The discursive power in these contestations has shaken the rationality-based legitimacy of this basic norm to its root. The continuing dominance of this norm depends to a large extent on how the Vietnamese party-state’s practical policy-making and policy implementation initiatives address the increasing tension between the supremacy of the CPV and other principles in the constitution.
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