Laos elects new president and PM during inaugural National Assembly meeting
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Laos elects new president and PM during inaugural National Assembly meeting

LAOS has elected a new president on Wednesday during its newly-seated National Assembly meeting held by its communist People’s Revolutionary Party.

The meeting named 78-year-old Bounnhang Vorachit for the nation’s top post while Tongloun Sisoulith, 70, will take on the prime ministerial role.

Bounnhang was a former Governor of the Savannakhet province and Mayor of Vientiane, while Thongloun was formerly the Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

The announcement of the new leaders was part of its internal selections, which saw appointments of other top party brass by the assembly, as well as its judicial bodies. Laos is known as one of the world’s last communist nations.

Local reports said the assembly on Wednesday voted to endorse the selections made by the ruling party at its Congress in January, where then-Vice President Bounnhang was selected as its new secretary general.

Laos, an underdeveloped, landlocked country with a population of just 7 million, will have a higher than usual profile this year as it has its turn holding the annual leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

According to the Vientiane Times, Bounnhang has pledged to serve the nation with integrity, setting a five-year plan of more achievements as the head of state. The government is also aiming to remove its status as the Least Developed Country in the world by 2020.

In his inaugural speech as president, Bounnhang said:

“It is my great honor and privilege that the inaugural session of the National Assembly has elected me as the new President of the Lao PDR (People’s Democratic Republic). On this occasion, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the Assembly members for placing their trust in me. I consider it a great responsibility and privilege to hold this post.”

“In response to the trust given to me, I vow that I will be honest towards the nation and the multi-ethnic Lao people. I will respect and strictly follow the Constitution and laws of the Lao PDR.”

He added would also drive forward the implementation of the party’s renovation policy and foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship and cooperation, the site reported.

“I will dedicate all of my efforts and knowledge, in cooperation with other Party and government leaders, to oversee national development to ensure that the country is prosperous and strong, that people become richer, and society enjoys justice,” added Bounnhang.

Additional reporting by Associated Press