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QR86: Diên Hồng Hall – Main Meeting Hall of the National Assembly Building

Diên Hồng Conference was a historic meeting that took place in the Trần dynasty held by the emperor’s father Trần Thánh Tông. The purpose of the meeting was to ask the elders in the nation for their advice if the Trần dynasty should draw or fight against the Mongols when they were about to attack the country for the second time.

Image of the Diên Hồng Hall – main meeting hall of the National Assembly Building

Diên Hồng Conference was considered as the first democratic voting gathering of our country. The elders were the representatives of the people to make decisions on the country’s vital issues at that time. Today, at the very meeting room, the National Assembly delegates also represent the people’s will and aspirations to discuss and decide on important issues of the country. Thus, the meeting room is named after the historic Diên Hồng Conference.
Diên Hồng Hall is designed as a cylinder if it is viewed from the outside, all the National Assembly delegates will join the circle to attend the meeting. There are two rows of white tables and chairs at the top. The first row is for the Presidium to administer the meeting. The second row is for the meeting’s Secretariat.
The meeting room is designed in an arc shape with two seating layers. The first one consists of 575 seats for the National Assembly delegates and guests; the second one consists of 339 seats for domestic and international visitors and auditors. Out of 575 seats in the first-layer area, there are 500 seats for National Assembly delegates, the remaining seats are for guests. The seating for the National Assembly delegates is rotated alternately at each meeting session to ensure that all delegates can sit in different positions in the meeting room. This is to assure fairness, no discrimination among the delegates of the National Assembly.

 
Image of Diên Hồng Hall – main meeting hall of the National Assembly Building

It can be seen, the ceiling of the interior of Diên Hồng Hall is equipped with a crystal light system consisting of 4,500 high power led light bulbs weighing up to nearly 5 tons (4,882 kg). The lighting creates the solemnity for the hall without the feeling of roughness that is often seen in other traditional meeting rooms. Above the stage, there are two large screens on each side so that delegates and guests can see others' positions in the National Assembly.

 
Crystal lights in Diên Hồng Hall

The tables for the delegates and guests are made of natural wood, domestically processed. The chairs are imported as whole pieces from Spain. They are covered with leather and can lean back at a 15cm angle from front to back without making any noise.

Each of the delegate’s tables is installed with high technology and the most up-to-date sound system, microphone and live voting system to ensure the best conditions for the National Assembly delegates to attend meetings.

It is seen on the table for delegates, there is a functional keyboard with different keys. There is a live voting key that is used when a delegate needs to vote on a certain issue. The next is a card reader slot. Each National Assembly delegate is given a card called the National Assembly delegate card that contains the delegate’s information. When attending a meeting, the delegate can use the card and insert it into the card slot. The card informs the delegate’s attendance and also launches all functions on the table’s keyboard. At the end of the meeting session, the delegate can withdraw his/her card from the card slot and keep his/her own card. For the meetings that last more than an hour, the delegates should not remove the card from the slot to prevent from losing their registration to speak at the National Assembly. In case a delegate inserts a card incorrectly or withdraws it after registering to speak, the technical department will not be able to access the operations from this device (including registration for speech and voting).

Tables and chairs with functional live voting and sound system in Diên Hồng Hall

Next is the volume control key. This key is mainly used to adjust the volume through the headset line. When a delegate of the National Assembly stands up to speak, the volume from the positions of other delegates will simultaneously decrease so that they can locate the speaker when they are speaking. Simultaneously, three cameras are directed towards the speaker and broadcast to the two screens above the stage area.

 
Image of the functional keyboards on delegates’ tables

The last key on the keyboard is the key to register to speak. From the first to the ninth term of the National Assembly, when registering to speak, the delegates must keep a registration listing record with their names and province/city’s name appear on it. Today, the National Assembly delegates only need to press the speaking registration key in order to speak. When the button and the microphone blinks, it means that the registration has been successful and if the delegates want to cancel the registration to speak, they can just press the key again to unregister.
Viet Nam’s National Assembly has three main functions: to make constitutional and legislative decisions; to decide important issues of the country; and to conduct the supreme supervision over the state activities. The National Assembly gathers twice a year. The first session usually takes place on May 20 and the second session usually takes place on October 20 each year. Each session often lasts for a month or more. Except for the closed meetings, all sessions of the National Assembly are publicized in the mass media. During each meeting session, the delegates have 20 minutes to take a break. In the corridor of the 3 doors, tea and water are provided during the break. During this time, news agencies can interview the delegates. Meanwhile, during the break, the reporters will work at the press center located in the B1 basement of the building.
By the end of 2020, Diên Hồng Hall has served 14 meeting sessions of the National Assembly, including 4 sessions of the 13th National Assembly and 10 sessions of the 14th National Assembly. 
Throughout fourteen sessions of the National Assembly, five Constitutions were promulgated. In the 2013 Constitution, under Article 70, the Constitution requests that the President, Chairperson of the National Assembly, Prime Minister, and Chief Justice of the People’s Supreme Court take an oath of loyalty after being elected. The Chairperson of the National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân was the first to perform the oath-taking ceremony after being elected. By the end of 2020, she was also the first female Chairperson of the National Assembly of our country. The 14th National Assembly was also the first to administer a new title called Secretary-General of the National Assembly. This title is currently held by the Chairman of the Office of the National Assembly, who is both the Secretary-General of the National Assembly and the Chairman of the Office of the National Assembly.
By the end of 2020, there have been thirteen National Assembly sessions. From the 14th National Assembly, there are new changes:
- This is the first official session of the National Assembly to implement the provision of an oath-taking ceremony for the newly elected President, Chairperson of the National Assembly, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the People’s Supreme Court.
- The National Assembly has changed the format of the hearing from "discussion" to "debate". For the first time, the delegates are encouraged to have "quick questions and answers" during the hearing sessions. The purpose of renewing the hearing’ format is to encourage dialogues and debates in the National Assembly’s activities. Thereof, the number of respondents will increase and focus on the main issues. Thus, the time for each delegate to pose a question is 01 minute instead of 02 minutes as before. After questions are given from three delegates, the Minister will provide answers immediately instead of waiting for 5 delegates to ask questions as before. The respondents have 03 minutes for each answer instead of 05 minutes as ruled out previously.
- At the 9th session of the 14th National Assembly, the session was organized into two meetings, combining virtual and all-present meetings. The National Assembly hereby can meet the requirements of pandemic prevention and disease control and can assure the requirements set forth by the National Assembly on meeting processes and procedures to fully perform all functions of the National Assembly. This change is suitable for the National Assembly delegates who are also working in other branches of the government. In addition, thanks to saving more interval time between meetings, the National Assembly's agencies also have more time to receive and revise addressed bills and resolutions.
- There are improvements in the organization of documents and providing the delegates with information and materials. The software application at the meetings continues to be upgraded and operated effectively, helping the delegates quickly look up related documents, track the overall activities of the meeting session, reduce the number of paper documents and save costs on printing materials.
- It is the first time the smart device software supporting all activities of the National Assembly has been operated with many useful features such as providing documents for the meeting session; performing a quick search of documents by voice command, reading text-to-speech for written documents; engaging with live interaction online; and easily following the topics related to the National Assembly's activities published by the press and social networks.

ONA-JICA Project – Phase 2