Chairman Sisavatdy calls for a move to an open, democratic system with
multiple political parties.
WASHINGTON, May 1 - After a sudden rescheduling of national elections
to a full year ahead of originally planned, the communist country of
Laos yesterday staged a one-party election to fill the 115 seat
Even though an estimated 2.7 million eligible Lao voters cast their
ballots nationwide in what the Lao government calls a "free and fair"
election, the people had very few real options from which to choose.
Of the 175 candidates vying for the 115 National Assembly seats, only
two did not belong to the communist party, the only legal political
party in Laos.
Khamphoui Sisavatdy, chairman of the Royal Lao Government in Exile,
based in the United States, condemned this election and called for more
international pressure on Laos to democratize.
"The communists in Laos will do anything to stay in power," Chairman
Sisavatdy said. "Reporters are threatened. Opposition is jailed.
People are not allowed to speak what they believe. This election,
which the communists would have us believe was open and uncontrolled,
amounts to nothing more than a charade. There is no freedom in Laos
National elections had originally been scheduled in Laos for spring of
2007. This February, with little explanation, the Lao government
suddenly changed the election date to this April 30, a full year ahead
of schedule. This sudden change did not allow international groups
time to organize effective observation. The Lao government, calling
Laos' elections "already fair and open," refused to allow any
international election monitoring at all.
The United States, the European Union and numerous other countries have
passed resolutions urging the communist government of Laos to, among
other issues, begin democratic reform by allowing internationally-
monitored elections in which political parties other than the ruling
Communist Party can run. Yesterday's election further underlined the
communist Lao government's refusal to comply with such international
"Without international observers, without political parties, without
freedom to express our opinions," RLGE Chairman Khamphoui Sisavatdy
stated, "the Communist Pathet Lao Party has again defrauded the Lao
people and mislead the entire world. This election in no way was
a 'free election' as they would like us to believe. The Communists
have made certain only their pre-approved candidates have won."
The RLGE has strongly condemns this election as fraudulent, and calls
for Laos to institute an open, democratic system with multiple
The Royal Lao Government in Exile is an alliance of Lao expatriates who
have joined together to institute in Laos a true democracy, one which
will ensure freedom, justice, and peace for all Lao people.