chapter  6
Achievements and challenges in developing a law-based state in contemporary Vietnam: How to shoe a turtle?
Pages 21

For almost two decades the Vietnamese authorities have expressed their determination to change the rules governing how the state, and the administration system functions. This project is one of the most important aspects of the Doi moi (renewal). Since the beginning of the 1990s the concept of law-based state ( nha nuoc phap quyen ) was officially adopted by the Seventh Party Congress in 1991 and was integrated into the 1992 Constitution by amendment in 2001 (article 2). As indicated in the Overall Program on State Administrative Reform in the 2001-10 period, 2 the main goal of Vietnamese authorities is to “successfully build a democratic, clean, strong, professional, modern, effective, and efficient public administration system which operates in line with the principle of the socialist State ruled-by-law under the leadership of the Party.” The Vietnamese state is officially shifting from a system based primarily on administrative fiat to a more rights-based law; this involves a transition from administrative-political orders to laws and rights; and from secrecy and omnipotence to transparency and accountability.