State and politics
The Democratic People's Republic of Laos was proclaimed
in 1975. According to the 1991 Constitution, the
presidential power is strong. The President is elected by
the National Assembly. The Communist Laotian Revolutionary
People's Party is the only allowed party.
The National Assembly appointed Communist Party leader
Bounnhang Vorachit as the country's president in 2016. He
replaced Chummaly Sayasone. Lao Foreign Minister Thongloun
Sisoulith was elected prime minister.
Since 1975, Laos has been closely allied with Vietnam. At
the end of the 1980s economic liberalization began in the
country and foreign policy normalized relations with China.
Relations with Thailand also improved during the 1990s. Laos
joined the ASEAN 1997 regional cooperation organization. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of LA and its meanings of Laos.
At its inception, Laos inherited a French-inspired
legislation, combined with local customary law on, among
other things. the area of family law and land law. During
the socialist period after 1975, the legal system came under
Eastern European influence, and the former law ceased to
apply. In 1986, work began on gradually creating a modern
legal system adapted to the needs of the market economy. The
death penalty remains in the legislation but is de facto
abolished in 1989.
Citizens' inability to influence politics and government
is the country's most significant human rights problem. In
communist Laos, the Laotian Revolutionary People's Party is
the only allowed party. The party controls all parts of the
government, as well as the country's security forces, whose
resources are extensive and used to stave off the political
opposition linked to a large exile population. It is also
used to keep an occasional armed resistance in check.
Freedom of meeting is limited. It is not allowed to
demonstrate. Protest marches and other events that,
according to the government, can cause social instability
are prohibited and the length of the sentence for those
convicted of such a crime can be up to five years.
It is illegal for workers to join unions other than
government-controlled. Strict restrictions on labor law also
prohibit strikes. Lao authorities have on several occasions
turned down worker protests by force.
As in most authoritarian states, the government controls
all national media, which includes newspapers, radio,
television and the internet. However, there are no
restrictions on foreign TV channels. Press freedom and
journalistic freedom are given a bottom rating by Reporters
Without Borders Review from 2015. The country is ranked 171
out of 180 countries on the press freedom list and is thus
one of the worst places in the world when it comes to the
right of citizens to free media and free information.
Heads of State