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Laos gets new govt, but few fresh faces
[June 16, 2011]

Laos gets new govt, but few fresh faces

VIENTIANE, Jun 16, 2011 (The Nation - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Lao People's Revolutionary Party chief Choummaly Sayasone has retained his position as the country's president in a new ballot by the National Assembly while Thongsing Thammavong was re-elected as premier.

President Choummaly, who was selected as party chief for the second term at the congress in March, told lawmakers he would employ all his ability, potential and skill to lead the country forward to stability, strength, happiness, unity, reconciliation, democracy and civilisation.

"I will honestly do my job as the head of state with loyalty to the people and the country," he said.

Laos aims to liberate its people from poverty by 2015 and to exit from the list of least developed country by 2020, he said.

The legislative body has also re-elected former premier Bounnhang Vorachith as vice-president for another term of five years, according to staterun Lao News Agency.

The Lao National Assembly's seventh legislature met for the first time after a general election on April 30 which brought 132 members into the assembly.

Pany Yathortou was elected president of the National Assembly. She took the position following Thongsing becoming the premier last year.

Saysomphone Phomvihane, a son of the late leader Kaysone Phomvihane, was elected as first vice president of the national assembly while Somphanh Phengkhammy was promoted to second vice president of the body.

The Lao legislature also approved a new set of cabinet officials for the government during the session on Thursday.

Thongsing has the same old men as his deputies. They are Asang Laoly, Thongloun Sisoulith who is also foreign minister, Douangchay Phichit, minister of national defence and Somsavat Lengsavad.

The National Assembly approved the establishment of four new ministries and put new faces into them. They include Khampane Philavong, minister of the interior, Boviengkham Vongdara, minister of science and technology, Noulin Sinbandhit, minister of natural resources and environment, and former ambassador to Thailand Hiem Phommachanh as minister of post, telecom and communications.

Besides the four ministers for the new ministries, other new faces in the cabinet are Vilayvanh Phomkhe, as minister of agriculture and forestry, and Eksavang Vongvichit as health minister.

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