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Administrative divisions (GPS Maps)

Geography

People and Society

Government

Economy

Communications

Transportation

Military


Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Conventional short form Laos
Local long form
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
Local short form Pathet Lao (unofficial)

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)

Administrative divisions
16 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 capital city* (nakhon luang, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xekong, Xiangkhouang

Independence
19 July 1949 (from France)

Constitution
Promulgated 14 August 1991; amended in 2003

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

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006); Vice President BOUN-GNANG Volachit (since 8 June 2006)
Head of government
Prime Minister THONGSING Thammavong (since 24 December 2010); First Deputy Prime Minister Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since May 2002), Prime Ministers Maj. Gen. DOUANGCHAI Phichit (since 8 June 2006), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998), and THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 27 March 2001)
Cabinet
Ministers appointed by president, approved by National Assembly
Elections
President and vice president elected by National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly for five-year term
Election results
CHOUMMALI Saignason elected president; BOUN-GNANG Volachit elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA; THONGSING Thammavong elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%

Legislative branch
Unicameral National Assembly (132 seats; members elected by popular vote from a list of candidates selected by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party to serve five-year terms)
Elections
Last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 128, independents 4

Judicial branch
People's Supreme Court, People's Provincial and Municipal Courts, People's District Courts, and Military Courts
Note
The president of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee; the vice president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee

Political parties and leaders
Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [CHOUMMALI Saignason]; other parties proscribed

Political pressure groups and leaders
NA

International organization participation
ADB, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador SENG Soukhathivong
Chancery
2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 332-6416
FAX [1] (202) 332-4923

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Karen B. STEWART
Embassy
19 Rue Bartholonie, That Dam, Vientiane
Mailing address
American Embassy Vientiane, APO AP 96546
Telephone [856] 21-26-7000
FAX [856] 21-26-7190

Flag description
Three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band; the red bands recall the blood shed for liberation; the blue band represents the Mekong River and prosperity; the white disk symbolizes the full moon against the Mekong River, but also signifies the unity of the people under the Pathet Lao, as well as the country's bright future

National symbol(s)
Elephant

National anthem
Name
"Pheng Xat Lao" (Hymn of the Lao People)
Lyrics/music
SISANA Sisane/THONGDY Sounthonevichit
Note
Music adopted 1945, lyrics adopted 1975; the anthem's lyrics were changed following the 1975 Communist revolution that overthrew the monarchy


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  Laos (Vientiane):


  GPS points from Laos (Vientiane)

Ban Na Mouane Khoueng Khammouan

Ban Pholak Khoueng Oudomxai

Phou Pahok Khoueng Xiangkhoang

Ban Mokphay Khoueng Oudomxai

Ban Dongvaydin Khoueng Savannakhet

Tiang Lang Tap Khoueng Louangphabang

Tao Nam Tien Khoueng Phongsali

Nam Douane Neua Khoueng Louangphabang




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