Vietnam is a unitary, single-party country located in Southeast Asia. Its constitution outlines the basic tasks and powers of local administrations at provincial, district, and commune level, which include subnational executives and (directly) elected People’s Councils at each level. The country is viewed by some as one of the region’s more decentralized countries, on account of the functional, administrative, and fiscal autonomy entrusted to its subnational governance institutions. However, the very limited role of the People’s Councils and the concentration of power within the Communist Party of Vietnam significant curtail the political (decision-making) autonomy of subnational institutions. Despite lacking true self-governance, local authorities–particularly at the provincial level–have significant de facto responsibility for service provision and discretion to tailor national policies to suit local circumstances.

Subnational governance structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessments

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Vietnam 2024 (Excel)

Additional resources

Vietnam Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

Local government country profile: Vietnam (UN Women)

A Review of Fiscal Decentralization in Vietnam (World Bank 2015)

Regional Authority Index (RAI) Country Profile: Vietnam

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Last updated: May 6, 2024