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Public opinions sought on constitutional amendments

Vientiane Times, April 21, 2015

Policymakers are sounding out opinions from various sectors in society and those good and reasonable opinions will be taken into account into the draft of the amended constitution. The national committee in charge of amending the constitution has made a public announcement welcoming public opinions and comment on the proposed amendments.

Leaders, senior revolutionary combatants, retired officials, civil servants, technical officials, soldiers, police officers, intellectuals, and ordinary people of all classes are encouraged to submit their opinions for the constitutional amendment, according to the announcement published in the Phouthen Pasaxon newspaper. A draft of the amended constitution has been published on page three of the newspaper since April 9 and will be published further in full to facilitate the contribution of public opinions. The amended parts have been underlined to ease opinion sharing, according to the newspaper published by the National Assembly (NA).

Laos is currently in the process of amending the constitution, which was once previously amended and came into effect in 2003. Those who want to contribute their opinions can do so by submitting the opinions to the secretariat of the National Committee stationed at the NA. “Logical and reasonable opinions will be taken into account in the draft,” Deputy Head of the Secretariat, Mr Phongsane Youtitham told Vientiane Times yesterday. A final draft of the amended constitution is set to be submitted to the NA’s ordinary session scheduled to take place in June for debate, according to Mr Phongsane, who is also Deputy Head of the NA Administrative Office.

The National Committee, chaired by NA President Ms Pany Yathotou, previously held a number of scientific seminars in regions across the country where policymakers shared opinions in order to draw up the draft. The current draft of the amended constitution consists of 14 chapters with 118 articles, reflecting additional content to the 2003 version, which consisted of 11 chapters with 98 articles . Mr Phongsane said previously that the time had arrived to amend the constitution given that it has been almost 12 years now since the first amendment in 2003. He added that many other countries normally review their constitution every 10 years or so. Mr Phongsane stated that the amendments will aim to ensure the constitution suits the socio-economic development needs of the country and be in line with the real situation as it currently stands. The original [first] Lao constitution was approved by the NA in 1991. On August 15, 1991 the constitution was officially promulgated – 16 years after Lao People’s Democratic Republic was proclaimed on December 2, 1975. August 15, 1991 has been proclaimed as Constitution Day in Laos.

 

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