Lao People’s Democratic Republic 1991 Constitution (reviewed 2015)

Table of Contents

Chapter I. The Political Regime

Article 1

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is an independent country with sovereignty and territorial integrity over its territorial waters and airspace. It is a unified country belonging to all its multi-ethnic people and is indivisible.

Article 2

The State of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is a people’s democratic state. All powers belong to the people, [and are exercised] by the people and for the interests of the multi-ethnic people of all social strata with the workers, farmers and intelligentsia as key components.

Article 3

The rights of the multi-ethnic people to be the masters of the country are exercised and ensured through the functioning of the political system with the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party as its leading nucleus.

Article 4 (Amended)

The people are to elect representatives, namely the National Assembly and the Local People’s Assemblies, to ensure that their rights, powers and benefits are addressed.

The election of members of the National Assembly and the Local People’s Assemblies shall be carried out through the principles of universal equal direct suffrage and secret balloting.

Voters have the right to propose the removal of their own representatives if they are found to behave in a way unbefitting their [honorable positions] and to lose the people’s confidence.

Article 5 (Amended)

The National Assembly, the Local People’s Assemblies and other state organizations are established and function in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism.

Article 6 (Amended)

The State protects the freedom and democratic rights of the people which cannot be violated by anyone. All state organizations and government officials must disseminate and create awareness of all policies, regulations and laws among the people and, together with the people, and strictly organize their implementation in order to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of the people. All acts of domination and harassment that can be detrimental to the people’s honor, physical well-being, lives, consciences and property are prohibited.

Article 7 (Amended)

The Lao Front for National Construction, the Lao Veterans Federation, the Lao Federation of Trade Unions, the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union, the Lao Women’s Union and other social organizations are the organizations to unite and mobilize all strata of the multi-ethnic people to take part in the tasks of protection and construction of the country, to develop the right of self-determination of the people, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of members of their respective organizations. They have the right and duty to monitor the activities of the National Assembly, Local People’s Assemblies and other members of such assemblies.

Article 8 (Amended)

The State pursues the policy of promoting unity and equality among all ethnic groups. All ethnic groups have the right to protect, preserve and promote the fine customs and cultures of their own tribes and of the nation. All acts creating division and discrimination among ethnic groups are prohibited.

The State uses every measure to gradually develop and upgrade the socio-economic levels of all ethnic groups.

Article 9 (Amended)

The State respects and protects all lawful activities of Buddhists and of followers of other religions, [and] mobilizes and encourages Buddhist monks and novices as well as the priests of other religions to participate in activities that are beneficial to the country and people. All acts creating division between religions and classes of people are prohibited.

Article 10 (Amended)

The State manages and protects the society through the provisions of the Constitution and the laws.

Party and state organizations, the Lao Front for National Construction, mass organizations, social organizations and all citizens must function within the bounds of the Constitution and the laws.

Article 11 (Amended)

The State implements in all aspects the policy of national defence and security for all people, improving the strong national defence, implements a modern plan, and is loyal to the country and the people; has the ability to carry out the duty to protect the gains of the revolution, the lives, properties and hard work of the people; and contributes to the tasks of national development in order to progress to enrichment and strength.

Article 12

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic pursues a foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship and cooperation, and promotes relations and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the [following] principles: peaceful coexistence; respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; and equality and mutual benefit.

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic supports the struggle of the world’s people for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress.