New Constitution Spells Out Top Leaders’ Roles

Source: Vientiane Times

The newly amended National Constitution has spelled out the mandate of the three State powers and the roles of the country’s top leaders.

The NA’s Law Committee Chairman Prof. Dr Davone Vangvichit, who was involved in the constitution drafting, told Vientiane Times yesterday that some rights and duties of state powers and top leaders have been amended or clarified.

Stipulated in the 34-page constitution as the highest State Power, the National Assembly (NA) will play the role of electing or removing the President and Vice President of the Lao PDR in response to a proposal made by the NA’s Standing Committee.

The NA will also play the role of electing and removing the Prime Minister, President of the People’s Supreme Court, Head of the People’s Supreme Prosecutor and the President of the State Inspection Authorities, based on a proposal from the President of the Lao PDR.

Meanwhile the President of the Lao PDR plays the role of promulgating the constitution and laws. As the Head of State, the president also has the mandate of appointing or removing deputy prime ministers and government members after the National Assembly approves a cabinet reshuffle.

The president also has the right to approve the promotion or removal of army officers holding the rank of brigadier general or higher, based on a proposal from the Prime Minister.

The term of president is equal to the term of the NA but a president can serve in office for not more than two consecutive terms.

In addition, as the head of the government, the Prime Minister plays the role of appointing and removing the Vientiane Mayor and the provincial governors after the approval of the provincial people’s assemblies.

The constitution does not stipulate a term for the tenure of the prime minister.

Prior to the approval of the amended constitution, the appointment an d removal of the Vientiane Mayor and the provincial governors was the role of the President of the Lao PDR.

The PM also plays the role of appointing, moving or removing deputy ministers and deputy heads of ministry equivalent organisations and directors general of ministry departments.

Prof. Dr Davone said from now on, the NA and provincial people’s assemblies will play a very significant role in not only approving the constitution and laws but also approving the country’s leaders as well as making decisions on all fundamental issues of the nation.

The amended constitution was approved by the NA and signed for promulgation by President Choummaly Sayasone last month. It comprises 15 chapters and 119 articles.

This is the second amendment of the national constitution, aiming to better manage State and socio-economic development and to respond to the needs of national development in the new era.

The original [first] Lao constitution was approved and promulgated in 1991 – 16 years after the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was proclaimed on December 2, 1975. The first amendment and promulgation of the constitution was made in 2003.