There are no free and fair elections in Laos. Legislative elections are held every five years, most recently in March 2016, but besides a few independents, all candidates are party members and all are vetted by the party-controlled Lao front for national development.

The Lao government has continued to make impressive progress in terms of socioeconomic development and in March 2018 the country was eligible to graduate from Least-Developed Country (LDC) status, a goal that has guided the government’s economic development strategy since 1996.

Fundamental limitations in Lao governance exist, including the persistence of informality and weak regulatory capacity. Despite a master plan on the development of the rule of law (2009), which aims (with UNDP assistance) to make Laos a “rule of law state” by 2020, the challenge of implementation remains vast and unmet.

Show country report