A Rare Glimpse Into The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party

Partyforumseasia:  The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party or LPRP is one of the most secretive political parties in Southeast Asia. Flag_of_LPRP.svgBut from time to time, or every five years, a party congress elects the members of politburo and central committee, the power centers, and allows a glimpse into the internal changes. The 10th party congress which ended on 22 January, elected 78 year old Bounnhang Bunnhang 1Vorachit as secretary general. Communist and authoritarian parties tend to play it safe with experienced leaders who are not likely to rock the boat with experiments and hasty reforms. Mr Bunnhang has already been serving as prime minister (2001–2006) and as vice president since 2006. He is one of the last veterans of the revolutionary generation at the beginning of the country’s independence and close Communist co-operation with Vietnam and China.

There are interesting election results nevertheless, if not yet a real rejuvenation. Pany LaoRe-elected as number two was Ms Pany Yathotu (65), chairperson of the National Assembly and former governor of the central bank. Laos observers see her as a potential future prime minister, when the new cabinet is expected to be announced later this year. The party seems to promote a certain gender balance, more women being elected in the party committees in ministries and organizations.

Some details of the outcome (according to Vientiane Times, Link here):

“The 69-member Party Central Committee was elected on Thursday by 685 Party members, who represented 252,879 Party members …”

“The 10th Party Central Committee elected 11 Politburo members, namely: Mr Bounnhang Vorachit, Mr Thongloun Sisoulith, Ms Pany Yathotou,” (et alia)
N.B.: Outgoing party chief and president, Choummaly Sayasone (79), Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong (71) and two deputy premiers were retired.

“In his remarks at the closing ceremony of the congress, Secretary General Bounnhang Vorachit described the outcome of the congress as ‘successful as expected’. He said that all the elected members were qualified as most of them had been tested on the battlefield during the struggle for national liberation, while the rest had been tested through their work in national development and protection tasks.

“Participants also reviewed shortcomings resulting from the fact that some goals set in the resolution adopted by the 9th Congress had not been achieved, and discussed ways to address the situation.” N.B.:No details are mentioned in this article…

As one of the last few remaining communist parties in the world, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party has understood that the country is economically lagging far behind the neighbors in Southeast Asia. During a review of the constitution in December 2015, the National Assembly has confirmed that the national economy is socialist but market-oriented. “Article 13 stipulates the national economy of Laos was market-oriented economy in line with socialism directive.” (Vientiane Times, 8 December 2015, Link here)

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