Laos. On January 24, a bomb exploded at a border crossing
between Laos and Thailand. Eleven Thai tourists were
injured. Authorities said the bombing was sparked by a
quarrel between two men, while independent judges were
convinced that hostile rebel forces were behind it. The
bombing was one in the line of similar attacks.
Countryaah, Lao's ruling Communist Party held its seventh congress
March 12-14. A few younger party members were elected to the
leadership, but on most of the posts the old representatives
were re-elected. President Khamtay Siphandone was re-elected
chairman of the party's Central Committee. Congress decided
to focus on agricultural development and preparations for
modernization and industrialization.
At the end of March, the Legislative Assembly elected a
new government under Prime Minister Boungnang Volachit,
former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The
new government was reported to be a last-minute compromise
solution between the party's civilian and military faction.
The choice of prime minister, leader of the civilian
faction, was liked by foreign lenders.
In November, a Belgian EU parliamentarian, along with
four other people, were sentenced to two years in prison for
participating in a demonstration for democracy in Laos. They
were also expelled from the country.