The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party is a communist political party that has governed Laos since 1975. The policy-making organs are the politburo and the central committee. A party congress, which elects members to the politburo and central committee, is held every five years. The congress used to also elect a secretariat, but this body was abolished in 1991. In 2007, 113 of the 115 members of the National Assembly of Laos were from the LPRP.
This day is holiday. No specific demonstration, but all the administration are closed.
The party has its origins in the Indochinese Communist Party founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1930 (see Communist Party of Vietnam). The ICP was entirely Vietnamese at its inception but grew throughout French Indochina and was able to found a small "Lao section" in 1936. In the mid-1940s, a campaign to recruit Laotian members was instigated and in 1946 or 1947, Kaysone Phomvihan, a law student at the University of Hanoi, was recruited, along with Nouhak Phoumsavan.
In February 1951, the Second Congress of the ICP resolved to disband the party and to form three separate parties representing the three states of Indochina. In reality, the ICP was a Vietnamese organization and the separate parties created were dominated by the Vietnamese parties regardless of their national affiliations. A movement known as the Pathet Lao (Land of Laos) was founded and Prince Souphanouvong became its figurehead leader. It was in theory a communist resistance movement meant to fight alongside the Viet Minh against French colonialism during the first Indochina War. But it never really fought much of anyone and was organized as a reserve organization of the Viet Minh. On March 22, 1955, at its First Party Congress, that the clandestine Lao’s People’s Party or Phak Pasason Lao was officially proclaimed. The First Party Congress was attended by 25 delegates representing a party membership of 300 to 400. The Party Congress was supervised and organized by the Vietnamese. Central Committee of Party includes Kaysone Phomvihane, Nouhak Phoumsavan, Bun Phommahaxay, Sisavath Keobounphanh, Khamseng ( May 1955, supplemented Souphanouvong, Phoumi Vongvichit, Phoun Sipaseut and 1956 supplemented Sisomphon Lovansay, Khamtay Siphandone,…).
The LPP and its successor the LPRP kept their existence secret until 1975 preferring to direct its activities through fronts such as the Pathet Lao.
In 1956 a legal political wing of the Pathet Lao, the Lao Patriotic Front (Neo Lao Hak Xat), was founded and participated in several coalition governments. In the 1960s the North-Vietnam controlled Pathet Lao were given tasks in Vietnamese-occupied areas of Laos. The Pathet Lao participated in a war between their North Vietnamese backers and the U.S.-backed Laotion irregular forces. Never very successful on their own, the party still gained power indirectly by North Vietnamese control in the northern and eastern sectors of the country. The Pathet Lao were never a particularly strong military force unless supported directly by the North Vietnamese army.
In February 1972, at the Second Party Congress, the name of the Lao’s People’s Party was changed to the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
In 1973, a peace agreement was signed that brought the Pathet Lao into the government and was supposed to result in the Vietnamese leaving the country. The Vietnamese army did not leave. In early 1975, the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese began attacking government outposts again. Without the support of the US, the anticommunist elements in the government had little choice other than to gradually allow the Pathet Lao to take power. In the spring of 1975 Pathet Lao forces consolidated their power throughout the country. The royal government fell in May 1975 and the LPRP took power. The LPRP on taking power showed itself to be closely connected to Vietnam. The LPRP signed a treaty of friendship which allowed Vietnamese army units to base themselves in Laos and also brought political advisors from Vietnam into the country. The LPRP economically isolated Laos by cutting off trade with all neighboring countries except for Vietnam.
In 1979 the Lao Front for National Construction was founded to extend the reach of the LPRP in society, with a particular emphasis on governmental and cultural participation.
The Third Party Congress did not meet until April 1982. Since then Party Congresses have been more regular with the Fourth Party Congress being held in November 1986, and the Fifth Party Congress in March 1991 with further congresses every four or five years since then.
The LPRP has shown itself to be remarkably resilient. Transitions of power have tended to be smooth, the new generation of leaders has proven more open to reform, and the Politburo now has some ethnic diversity.