Politics of Laos

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The politics of Laos takes place in the framework of a single-party socialist republic. The only legal political party is the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). The head of state is President Choummaly Sayasone, who also is LPRP general secretary.

The head of government is Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong. Government policies are determined by the party through the all-powerful nine-member Politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the 49-member Central Committee. Important government decisions are vetted by the Council of Ministers.

The FY 2000 central government budget plan called for revenue of $180 million and expenditures of $289 million, including capital expenditures of $202 million.

Political culture[edit]

Laos' first, French-written and monarchical constitution was promulgated on May 11, 1947 and declared it to be an independent state within the French Union. The revised constitution of May 11, 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 December 3, 1975, when a communist People's Republic was proclaimed.

A new constitution was adopted in 1991 and enshrined a "leading role" for the LPRP. The following year, 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 2006. The assembly was expanded to 99 members in 1997 and in 2006 elections had 115.


Further information: Insurgency in Laos

In the early 2000s, bomb attacks against the government have occurred, coupled with small exchanges of fire, across Laos.[1] A variety of different groups have claimed responsibility including the Committee for Independence and Democracy in Laos and Lao Citizens Movement for Democracy.

Executive branch[edit]

The presidential palace in Vientiane.
Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Choummaly Sayasone Lao People's Revolutionary Party 8 June 2006
Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong Lao People's Revolutionary Party 23 December 2010

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. As of a cabinet reshuffle on June 8, 2006, they are Maj. Gen. Douangchay Phichit (also defense minister), Thongloun Sisoulith (also foreign minister), Somsavat Lengsavad and Maj. Gen. Asang Laoly.

The 28-member cabinet also includes Onechanh Thammavong as labour minister, Chaleuan Yapaoher as justice minister, Nam Vignaket as industry and commerce minister, Sitaheng Latsaphone as agriculture minister and Sommath Pholsena as transport minister.

Legislative branch[edit]

The National Assembly (Sapha Heng Xat) has 115 members, elected for a five-year term.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Laos. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Laos.
e • d Summary of 30 April 2011 National Assembly of Laos election results
Lao People's Revolutionary Party (Phak Paxaxôn Pativat Lao) 128
Non-partisans 4
Total 132

Judicial branch[edit]

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.

State leaders[edit]


  • Thongbane Sengaphone, Minister of National Security
  • Onchanh Thammavong, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare
  • Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment
  • Pr.Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism (update 2013)
  • Prof. Dr. Eksavang VONGVICHIT, Minister of Public Health
  • Dr Phankham Viphavan, Minister of Education
  • Dr Nam Viyaket, Minister of Industry and Commerce
  • Soulivong Daravong, Minister of Energy and Mining
  • Sommath Pholsena, Minister of Public Works and Transport
  • Phouphet Khamphounvong, Minister of Finance
  • Hiem Phommachanh, Minister of Post and Telecommunication
  • Vilayvan Phomkhe, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

PM Office[edit]

  • Sinlavong Khoutphaytoon, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Head of the government Secretariat committee
  • Bounpheng Mounphosay, Minister to Prime Minister’s Office, Head the Public Administration and Civil Service Authority (PACSA)
  • Soubanh Sritthirath, Minister to the Prime Minister's Office.
  • Cheuang Sombounkhanh, Minister to the Prime Minister’s office, Head of the government Secretariat committee.
  • Onneua Phommachanh, Minister to Prime Minister’s Office
  • Kham-ouan Boupha, Minister to Prime Minister’s Office
  • Dr Bounteim Phitsamai, Minister, Head of the Science, Technology and Environment Organisation
  • Saisengly Tengbriaju, Minister to Prime Minister’s Office
  • Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Head of the National Tourism Authority
  • Bouasi Lorvansay, Minister to Prime Minister’s Office
  • Khamluad Sitlakon, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, President of post &Communication

Presidential Palace Office[edit]

  • Phongsavath Boupha, Minister to Presidential Palace’s Office

Somphao Faysith, Governor of Lao PDR Central Bank

  • Dr Chaleun Yiapaoheu, Minister of Justice [1][2][3]
  • President of the National Assembly: Pany Yathotou:
  • Vice-President of the National Assembly: Dr Xaysomphone Phomvihane [4][5], Somphan Phengkhammy
  • President of Supreme Court: Khamphanh Sithidampha
  • Supreme People’s Prosecutor: Khamsane Souvong

Politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party:

  1. Lt. Gen. Choummaly Sayasone, General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
  2. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister (since 23 December 2010)
  3. Colonel Bounnhang Vorachith, Vice President of Lao People's Democratic Republic, Standing Member of the Secretariat
  4. Pany Yathotou, Chairwoman of the National Assembly (since 23 December 2010)
  5. Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of the Party's National External Relations Committee
  6. Maj. Gen. Asang Laoly, Deputy Prime Minister, Head of the Party's Central Inspection Committee.
  7. Maj. Gen. Douangchay Phichith, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defence
  8. Somsavat Lengsavad, Standing Deputy Prime Minister
  9. Dr. Bounpone Bouttanavong, chief of the party Central Committee office.
  10. Dr. Bounthong Chitmany, chief of the party organization.
  11. Dr. Phankham Viphavanh, education minister.

Secretariat of the Party Central Committee:

  1. Lt. Gen. Choummaly Sayasone
  2. Bounnhang Vorachit (PCC Standing Secretariat)
  3. Dr Bounthong Chitmany
  4. Dr Bounpone Bouttanavong
  5. Dr Thongban Seng-aphone
  6. Chansy Phosikham
  7. Soukan Mahalath
  8. Maj. Gen. Sengnuan Xayalath
  9. Cheuang Sombounkhanh

Inspection Committee of the Party Central Committee

  1. Bounthong Chitmany (President)
  2. Thongsy Ouanlasy
  3. Sinay Mienglavanh
  4. Khamsuan Chanthavong
  5. Thongsouk Bounyavong
  6. Singphet Bounsavatthiphan
  7. Bounpone Sangsomsak

Party Central Committee Advisor: Khamtai Siphandon

Administrative divisions[edit]

Laos is divided into 17 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural), 1 municipality* ( nakhon luang vientiane, singular and plural):
Attapu, Bokeo, Borikhamxay, Champassack, Houaphan, Khammouane, Louang Namtha, Luangphabang, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, Saravane, Savannakhet, Saysomboune, Sekong, Vientiane*, Vientiane, Sayaboury, Xieng Khouang.