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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Laos Government

Laos    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Lao People's Democratic Republic

conventional short form:  Laos

local long form:  Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

local short form:  none
Government type: Communist state
Capital: Vientiane
Administrative divisions: 16 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural), 1 municipality* (kampheng nakhon, singular and plural), and 1 special zone** (khetphiset, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xaisomboun**, Xekong, Xiangkhoang
Independence: 19 July 1949 (from France)
National holiday: Republic Day, 2 December (1975)
Constitution: promulgated 14 August 1991
Legal system: based on traditional customs, French legal norms and procedures, and Socialist practice
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state:  President Gen. KHAMTAI Siphandon (since 26 February 1998) and Vice President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since NA March 2001)

head of government:  Prime Minister BOUNGNANG Volachit (since NA March 2001); Deputy Prime Ministers THONGLOUN Sisolit (since NA March 2001), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998)

cabinet:  Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly

elections:  president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 21 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president with the approval of the National Assembly for a five-year term

election results:  KHAMTAI Siphandon elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (99 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; note - by presidential decree, on 27 October 1997, the number of seats increased from 85 to 99)

elections:  last held 21 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2002)

election results:  percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - LPRP or LPRP-approved (independent, non-party members) 99
Judicial branch: People's Supreme Court (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 [KHAMTAI Siphandon, party president]; other parties proscribed
Political pressure groups and leaders: noncommunist political groups proscribed; most opposition leaders fled the country in 1975
International organization participation: ACCT, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador VANG Rattanavong

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 (vacant); Charge d'Affairs Karen Brevard STEWART

embassy:  19 Rue Bartholonie, B. P. 114, Vientiane

mailing address:  American Embassy, Box V, APO AP 96546

telephone:  [856] (21) 212581, 212582, 212585

FAX:  [856] (21) 212584
Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band


Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook

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