conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic

conventional short form: Laos

local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

local short form: Mueang Lao (unofficial)

etymology: name means "Land of the Lao [people]"

Government type
communist state

Capital
name: Vientiane (Viangchan)

geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E

time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the meaning in Pali, a Buddhist liturgical language, is "city of sandalwood"

Administrative divisions
17 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 prefecture* (kampheng nakhon); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xaisomboun, Xekong, Xiangkhouang

Independence
19 July 1949 (from France by the Franco-Lao General Convention); 22 October 1953 (Franco-Lao Treaty recognizes full independence)

National holiday
Republic Day (National Day), 2 December (1975)

Constitution
history: previous 1947 (preindependence); latest promulgated 13-15 August 1991

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly membership and promulgation by the president of the republic; amended 2003, 2015

Legal system
civil law system similar in form to the French system

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Laos

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
chief of state: President THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 22 March 2021); Vice President PANI Yathotou; Vice President BOUNTHONG Chitmani (since 22 March 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister PHANKHAM Viphavan (since 22 March 2021); Deputy Prime Ministers CHANSAMON Chan-gnalat, SONXAI Siphandon, KIKEO Khaikhamphithoun (since 22 March 2021); VILAI Lakhamfong, SALEUMXAI Kommasit (since June 2022)

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

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 22 March 2021; prime minister nominated by the president, elected by the National Assembly for 5-year term

election results:
2021: THONGLOUN Sisoulit (LPRP) elected president; National Assembly vote: 161-1; PANI Yathotou and BOUNTHONG Chitmani (LPRP) elected vice presidents; National Assembly vote NA; PHANKHAM Viphavan (LPRP) elected prime minister; National Assembly vote: 158-3

2016: BOUNNYANG Vorachit (LPRP) elected president; PHANKHAM Viphavan (LPRP) elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA; THONGLOUN Sisoulit (LPRP) elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch
description: unicameral National Assembly or Sapha Heng Xat (164 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote from candidate lists provided by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 21 February 2021 (next to be held in 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 158, independent 6; composition - men 128, women 36, percent of women 21.9%

Judicial branch
highest courts: People's Supreme Court (consists of the court president and organized into criminal, civil, administrative, commercial, family, and juvenile chambers, each with a vice president and several judges)

judge selection and term of office: president of People's Supreme Court appointed by the National Assembly upon the recommendation of the president of the republic for a 5-year term; vice presidents of the People's Supreme Court appointed by the president of the republic upon the recommendation of the National Assembly; appointment of chamber judges NA; tenure of court vice presidents and chamber judges NA

subordinate courts: appellate courts; provincial, municipal, district, and military courts

Political parties and leaders
Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [THONGLOUN Sisoulit]

note: other parties proscribed