Lao People's Democratic Republic

Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxôn Lao

Political Status: Fully independent constitutional monarchy proclaimed October 23, 1953; Communist-led People's Democratic Republic established December 2, 1975; present constitution adopted August 14, 1991.

Area: 91,428 sq. mi. (236,800 sq. km.).

Population: 4,581,258 (1995C); 5,790,000 (2004E).

Major Urban Center (1995C) VIENTIANE (Viangchan, 528,109).

Official Language: Lao (English is considered the business language in government circles).

Monetary Unit: New Kip (market rate July 1, 2005: 10,733 new kips = $1US). The Thai baht also circulates.

President: Gen. KHAMTAY SIPHANDONE; elected by the National Assembly on February 24, 1998, to succeed NOUHAK PHOUMSAVAN; reelected on April 9, 2002.

Vice President: Gen. CHOUMMALY SAYASONE (SAIGNASON); elected by the National Assembly on March 27, 2001, succeeding OUDOM KHATTIGNA, who had died on December 9, 1999; reelected on April 9, ...

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