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South Vietnam's Constituent Assembly : a preliminary appraisal
Date of Creation:
October 25, 1966
Date of Declassification:
March 4, 1994
Type of Document:
Intelligence memorandum
Level of Classification:
Status of Copy:
Pagination, Illustration:
15 p.
The makeup of the Constituent Assembly generally reflects the traditional regional and religious aspects of South Vietnamese politics, with southern regionalism the most active force evident thus far. If, during the life of the Assembly, a "dominant" bloc emerges, it will most likely be an alliance of Catholics and Souhtherners. The Catholic delegates have already demonstrated considerable cohesiveness. Much of the political maneuvering in the body to date has centered on the forthcoming election of Assembly officers, which will be the first real test of blocs or alliances. Another noteworthy factor, the inexperience of many of the deputies, is causing the Assembly to move more slowly than anticipated in its task of drafting a constitution. Thus far, no fundamental factor has appeared which should prevent the adoption of a constitution acceptable both to the Assembly and the military leaders in the Ky regime. The Assembly has avoided any serious controversy with the government thus far, but there are potential problems relating to current restrictions on the scope and independence of the Assembly. In addition, political developments outside the Assembly will undoubtedly affect the behavior of the deputies, and it is conceivable, in fact, that a group of Southern deputies might resign should they feel the Northern-dominated government is giving insufficient consideration to Southern interests. Given the current political atmosphere, the chances are that no strong or lasting national political alliances will emerge from the Assembly. It is also probable that the Assembly will not contribute much to the resolution or the moderation of the larger problems in the political life of South Vietnam. However, the large number of relatively inexperienced deputies, many of whom will later have political roles, will gain some legislative experience, and this in itself is useful.
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