Lao National Party Congress closes in Vientiane

10:22, March 22, 2011      

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Lao People's Revolutionary Party Secretary General Choummaly Sayasone (1st L) delivers a speech at the closing ceremony of the 9th National Congress in Vientiane, capital of Laos, March 21, 2011. The 9th National Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Laos' most significant political event, came to a close on Monday afternoon in Vientiane. (Xinhua/Paul Amatha Ratsombath)

The 9th National Congress of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Laos' most significant political event, came to a close on Monday afternoon in Laos' capital Vientiane.

Earlier on Monday afternoon, the Party announced the re- election of Choummaly Sayasone as Party Secretary General until 2016.

The incumbent secretary general, who is also Lao President, was congratulated with flowers and applause from the assembled delegates before a procession in traditional costume carried flags through the headquarters of the Party Central Committee in the Lao capital.

In his keynote speech to close the Congress, Choummaly, 75, noted that the success of the summit and the results would lead Laos to a new stage of development.

The Lao People's Revolutionary Party will insist on continuing the policy of innovation and implement the resolutions of the 9th Congress to achieve the (UN) Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and exit the list of Least Developed Countries by 2020, he said.

After the results were announced, Standing Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad delivered the resolutions of the 9th Party Congress to the assembled delegates, citing economic development as the central task of the next term.

"We need to change from a natural resource-based economy to a more commodity-based economy," he explained, adding "we will continue to build our nation as one of the people, by the people and for people."

During the Congress, a 61-member Party Central Committee was formed on Sunday before naming a new 11-member Politburo on Monday, Laos' supreme leadership bodies, which also began five-year tenures.

Some 576 delegates representing more than 190,000 Party members nationwide gathered for the Congress, which began on March 17.

Delegates heard a political report by the outgoing 8th Party Central Committee on achievements and challenges since the last Congress in 2006, the National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2011-2015, containing Laos' major policy directions over the next five years, and the amended the Party Statute.

A major theme under discussion at the Congress was the need for swift action to ensure Laos reaches the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, which include halving poverty and providing universal primary education.

Issues raised included the Lao economy's heavy reliance on foreign investment and natural resources, which saw the Southeast Asian state export over half a billion U.S. dollars' worth of minerals and metals since 2006, and the need for wide improvements to the education system to strengthen Laos' frail human resource base and accelerate development.

Source: Xinhua

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