Looking Ahead: Laos in 2020 and beyond

The next Party National Congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) is scheduled for early next year and, through this process, new leaders and a new politburo will be elected. While a cloak of secrecy makes it is extremely difficult to predict what specific changes the Congress will bring, well-informed reports from inside Laos suggest that some new, relatively young and well-educated figures, are destined for Senior party positions. In my summary of Laos and its political trajectory over the past 12 months, I seek to capture how constraints on freedom of expression have expanded alongside dynamic economic growth.

Perhaps the biggest question regarding leadership change in Laos is what will become of the current Prime Minister, Thongloun Sisoulith, who was appointed at the last party congress in 2016.

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