Laos Government and Politics

State and politics


According to, 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.

Human Rights

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

1946-59 Sisavang Vong
1959-75 Savang Vatthana
1975-91 Souphanouvong
1991-92 Kaysone Phomvihane
1992-98 Nouhak Phoumsavan
1998-2006 Khamtay Siphandone
2006-2016 Choummaly Sayasone
2016- Bounnhang Vorachit

Laos Head of Government

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