Laos, Socialism | 2024-06-07

Supporting Laos' National Assembly

International Cooperation and Project Management Secretariat (since 2016)

The panel of the 7th Intersession of Laos' 9th National Assembly in May 2024.

The National Assembly officially represents the people of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. As parliament, it is tasked with passing laws and constitutional changes as well as overseeing other state agencies. The National Assembly’s 164 members sit in full Ordinary Sessions only twice a year. In its current constitution, the National Assembly is facing major challenges. Laos’ rapid economic development has led to an equally dramatic growth of government responsibilities. Yet, many parliamentarians also hold mandates on the provincial level and spend most of the year away from national politics. This is why the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) has been working together with National Assembly’s International Cooperation and Project Management Secretariat (ICPMS) to strengthen the parliamentarians’ legislative and monitoring capacities.

Since 2017, RLS has been supporting the National Assembly’s Intersessions. These 6-day plenary meetings take place twice a year in the capital Vientiane. They offer members of the National Assembly a chance to prepare for the upcoming Ordinary Session. The parliamentarians discuss ongoing issues and scrutinize proposed laws. The Intersessions thus ensure diligent deliberation, rigorous oversight and a well-informed legislative process. They also allow the parliamentarians to work more efficiently during the Ordinary Sessions themselves. Moreover, the Intersessions provide an opportunity for dialogue between parliamentarians and members of the Lao government as well as international partners.

ICPMS and RLS have cooperated on a handful of other projects aimed at bolstering Laos’ legislative branch. For example, in 2016 RLS funded a training program that taught National and Provincial People’s Assembly members useful skills to thoroughly exercise their legislative, oversight and representative roles. Similarly, in 2020 RLS and ICPMS organized a seminar on law-making procedures and mandate clarification. Over the years, the National Assembly was able to consolidate its position within Laos’ political landscape as well as significantly increase the number of laws it is capable of considering and passing. There were also exchanges visits to Germany by members of the Lao National Assembly.

National Assembly of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Laos' National Assembly, formerly called the Supreme People’s Assembly, was founded following Laos’ independence in 1975. Elections are held every five years. The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung has been collaborating with its International Cooperation and Project Management Secretariat for more than ten years.

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