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Government in Laos
 
 
 

General

Laos is a communist single-party socialist republic and the only legal political party is the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). The head of state is the president, who is also the General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. The head of government is the prime minister, who is also a senior member of the Politburo of Revolutionary Party. The president is elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term. The prime minister and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the president with the approval of the National Assembly for a five-year term.There are also four deputy prime ministers.

Government policies are determined by the party through the all-powerful eleven-member Political Bureau and the 61-member Central Committee. Important government decisions are vetted by the Council of Ministers.

Laos's first, French-written and monarchical constitution was promulgated on 11 May 1947 and declared Laos to be an independent state within the French Union. The revised constitution of 11 May 1957 omitted reference to the French Union, though close educational, health and technical ties with the former colonial power persisted. The 1957 document was abrogated on 3 December 1975, when a communist People's Republic was proclaimed. A new constitution was adopted in 1991 and enshrined a "leading role" for the LPRP.

In 1992, elections were held for a new 85-seat National Assembly with members elected by secret ballot to five-year terms. This National Assembly, which essentially acts as a rubber stamp for the LPRP, approves all new laws, although the executive branch retains authority to issue binding decrees. The most recent elections took place in April 2011. The assembly was expanded to 99 members in 1997, to 115 members in 2006 and finally to 132 members during the 2011 elections

The President of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee. The Vice President of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee.

Overview

Country name:
conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
conventional short form: Laos
local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
local short form: Pathet Lao (unofficial)

Government type:
Communist state

Capital:
name: Vientiane (Viangchan)
geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
16 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 capital city* (nakhon luang, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xekong, Xiangkhouang

Independence:
19 July 1949 (from France)

Constitution:
promulgated 14 August 1991; amended in 2003

Legal system:
civil law system similar in form to the French system

International law organisation participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006); Vice President BOUN-GNANG Volachit (since 8 June 2006)

head of government: Prime Minister THONGSING Thammavong (since 24 December 2010); First Deputy Prime Minister Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since May 2002), Prime Ministers Maj. Gen. DOUANGCHAI Phichit (since 8 June 2006), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998), and THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 27 March 2001)

cabinet: Ministers appointed by president, approved by National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected by National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly for five-year term

election results: CHOUMMALI Saignason elected president; BOUN-GNANG Volachit elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA; THONGSING Thammavong elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (132 seats; members elected by popular vote from a list of candidates selected by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 128, independents 4

Judicial branch:
People's Supreme Court, People's Provincial and Municipal Courts, People's District Courts, and Military Courts
note: the president of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee; the vice president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee

Political parties and leaders:
Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [CHOUMMALI Saignason]; other parties proscribed

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organisation participation:
ADB, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador SENG Soukhathivong
chancery: 2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6416
fax: [1] (202) 332-4923

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Karen B. STEWART
embassy: 19 Rue Bartholonie, That Dam, Vientiane
mailing address: American Embassy Vientiane, APO AP 96546
telephone: [856] 21-26-7000
fax: [856] 21-26-7190

Flag description:
three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centred in the blue band; the red bands recall the blood shed for liberation; the blue band represents the Mekong River and prosperity; the white disk symbolises the full moon against the Mekong River, but also signifies the unity of the people under the Pathet Lao, as well as the country's bright future

National symbol(s):
elephant

National anthem:
name: "Pheng Xat Lao" (Hymn of the Lao People)
lyrics/music: SISANA Sisane/THONGDY Sounthonevichit
note: music adopted 1945, lyrics adopted 1975; the anthem's lyrics were changed following the 1975 Communist revolution that overthrew the monarchy

 

 
 

 



 


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