Government, Economy, Arts, and Entertainment

All That Glitters is Not Gold

Although Laos is a beautiful place to see and is complete with its ancient and exotic sculptures, the government and economy is not quite what one might imagine.

The picture is of a government office in Laos.


Executive Branch:
Formally known as the Lao People's Democratic Republic
Communist Government
The Chief of State is President Choummali Saignason (terms are five years)
Vice President Boun-Gnang Volachit
The Head of Government is Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong
Cabinet members are appointed by the President
The set up of this executive branch is relatively similar to the set up of the United States', but the two function very differently. Obviously capitalism and communism are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The people of Laos do not get to vote, the president is selected by the National Assembly. This is different from America because citizens vote on candidates from any party, not just the communist party.
Legislative Branch:
Unicameral National Assembly with 132 seats with members elected every five years. President chooses the Assembly.
This is very different from the United States as we have a bicameral legislative branch with a total of 535 members. These members are elected by the people.
Judicial Branch:
The top court is the People's Supreme Court.
The judges are members of the National Assembly.
The president and vice president of the Supreme Court are elected by the National Assembly.
There are different names but its all really the same thing.
This whole branch is very different from America's Supreme Court. America has nine judges that are appointed by the president.


Laos has a command economy that is heavily controlled and regulated by the government.
Laos is somewhat developed in Vientiane, but in the rural areas many people are living at the subsistence level.
The GDP is $34.48 Billion, 116th in the world
GDP per capita is $5,000, 167th in the world
The currency type is the Lao kip
22% of the population lives below the poverty line
Laos imports mainly machinery, vehicles, and fuel. They import roughly $4B worth total.
Laos exports about $2.8B and export wood, coffee, electricity, and tin.
Overall, unless you are one the very few rich living in Laos, it is not a great place to live and work economically. Many of the people are indigenous and thus hardly contribute to the economy.

The picture is of the Laos Stock Exchange

Entertainment and Arts

Click here to see Laos national anthem.

Major Festivals:
  • Wat Phou Festival celebrates the full moon in the third month of the lunar calendar. There are elephant racing, buffalo fights, and traditional dances and music
  • Rice Growing Festival is a day where everyone expresses thankfulness for being blessed by living in an place where rice grows well. This is celebrated by eating rice and racing boats
  • Boun Khao Salak Ancestor Festival is where the people make offerings to their ancestors and celebrating their accomplishments. This is also celebrated by racing long-boats.
  • Lao National Day is celebrated December 2. It commemorates the day in 1975 when the working class overthrew the government to create the communist system. Celebrated by ox-fighting, ball throwing, spinning-top races, and crossbow demonstrations.

Lao Dancer

The picture below features a dancer in the New Year Festival
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Boat Races

These boat races are during the Rice Growing Festival
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The most popular sport by far in Laos is football (soccer)
Laos has competed in the Olympic Games since 1980
The number two sport is boxing. Excitement for boxing has increased rapidly lately and might surpass soccer soon for the nation's sport

Works Cited

"Laos." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.

"All Events." Laos Festivals. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.

"Laos at the Olympics." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.

"Douangdeuane Bounyavong." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.

"Laotian Sports through the Years." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.
"Laos." Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 07 May 2015.