Laos 2016: The 10th congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (Lprp) and its domestic and international aftermath
The 10th Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) concluded in January 2016 with a reshuffle of the Politburo. The new leadership confirmed a «steady-as-you-go» policy continuing to base its political legitimacy both on economic growth cum social equity and the fight against the spread of corruption, and on its strategic ability in the international arena. Laos, as temporary chairman of ASEAN, acted as guardian of its autonomy vis-à-vis Beijing’s undue influence. This latter approach also aimed at ensuring the party-state good relations with the international community and, consequently, the steady flow of official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investments (FDI). Barack Obama’s visit (in September), the first one to Laos of a sitting US President, contributed to highlight the impressive economic growth achieved by the country in the last decade, strengthening the PLRP’s political legitimation.