Choummaly endorsed as president of Laos
Communist Laos's National Assem-bly yesterday endorsed party chief Choummaly Sayasone as president and young rising star Bouasone Bouphavanh as prime minister.
The reshuffle reflected a smooth transition of power, as both Choummaly and Bouasone belong to the faction of former Lao People's Revolutionary Party chief Khamtay Siphandone, Vientiane-based diplomats said.
A three-star general, Choummaly is Khamtay's former deputy and right-hand man, while Bouasone is a former deputy prime minister. Choummaly has enjoyed Khamtay's full backing since joining the decision-making Politburo during the seventh congress of the party in 2001. Like Khamtay, Choummaly and Bouasone are natives of southern Laos.
Choummaly, from Attapeu, took the helm from Khamtay after the eighth congress of the communist party in March.
Bouasone, from Salavan, replaced Bounnhang Vorachit, who was made vice-president.
Born in 1954, Bouasone is from the new generation of communist leaders who have climbed the ladder of the socialist regime, and was not one of the revolutionary guard like his seniors. However, in 1975, shortly before the fall of Vientiane to the communist Pathet Lao, he was a student activist who played a key role in protests against the previous regime.
The reshuffle also promoted former foreign minister Somsavat Lengsavad to deputy prime minister.
Historian Thongloun Sisoulith, also a former deputy prime minister, replaced Somsavat as foreign minister.
New faces in the 28-member cabinet include Onechanh Thammavong as labour minister, party ideologist Chaleuan Yapaoher as justice minister, Nam Vignaket as industry and commerce minister, Sitaheng Latsaphone as agriculture minister and Sommath Pholsena as transport minister.
The 115-member National Assembly, which was inaugurated yesterday following the April 30 general election, selected Thong Thammavong as its president.