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Laos political system


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LAOS
Political system:

Lao PDR is a people’s democracy, governed through a single political Party, the LPRP. The Party is headed by the Party Central Committee which is the highest ‘political’ body in the country. While the country has been in economic transition since 1986, the political system has remained relatively stable.


Legislation:

Law on anti-corruption approved in May 2005

(A Draft Decree on Asset Declaration is currently under discussion)
Main agencies involved in AC prevention, investigation, enforcement, education

Main agency(s):



Other:

  • Supreme Audit Authority

  • National Police

  • People’s prosecutor

  • Public Administration and Civil Service Authority (PACSA)

  • National Assembly


Anti-corruption strategy:

No strategy available yet.

In March 2006, the government requested UNDP to assist them in developing a national anti-corruption strategy that would support the implementation of the Law on Anti-Corruption. A baseline study was conducted and recommendations have been made regarding the process to follow for the development of such a national strategy and short-and medium targets to be obtained. The study is still being discussed and has not yet been released by the government.
UNCAC status:

Convention signed but not ratified


Recent developments:

  • In 2006, the State Inspection Authority (SIA) and the Party Central Control Committee (PCCC) were brought under the single supervision of Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Asang Laoly.

  • In May 2006, the government and private sector jointly organised the first Lao Business Forum. Simultaneously with the forum the government also released the first Investment Climate Survey (Lao PDR: Reducing Investment Climate Constraints to Higher Growth, 2006).


Challenges:

  • The main factors that influence corruption in Lao PDR can be grouped into five main categories: political (party-state collusion, absence of political competition, lack of positive role-models amongst the political leadership); economic (low salary levels, large informal sector); socio-cultural (kinship, culture of non-confrontation and of not-loosing-face); developmental (limited opportunities for social empowerment, inequitable distribution of wealth and of the results of economic growth); institutional (lack of independence of the state powers, politicization of the public service and judiciary, weak checks and balances, process of decision making), and legal and judicial (impunity, lack of independence of the judiciary, management on the basis of the rule “by” law rather than of the rule “of” law).

  • No corruption perception survey has been undertaken (apart from the recent business investment survey). A baseline study was undertaken with support of UNDP in 2006 but the study is still under discussion.

  • Central-local relationships reflect an ongoing power-play and bargaining between the centre and the provinces. Much of today’s difficulties in setting up transparent governance at the local level originate from these power-plays between the centre and the provinces.

  • Findings indicate the presence of a non-conducive environment for tackling corruption. But despite doubts and evident challenges, there is a momentum for moving ahead with the implementation of the anti-corruption law and the development of a national strategy to guide and facilitate that implementation.


UNDP’s involvement:

UNDP has a long-standing involvement in governance reforms in Laos, mainly through the Governance and Public Administration Reform (GPAR) program that has projects at central level as well as in 5 provinces, support to the National Assembly and support to the legal Sector reform. Through the GPAR project, UNDP has supported the recent initiatives to tackle corruption in Laos (distribution of the UNCAC, translation and distribution of the new anti-Corruption Law, raising public awareness on corruption, preparation of a base line study and recommendations for the development of a national integrity strategy and for the development of additional legislation and regulations). UNDP also supported participation of government officials in regional and global capacity building events in the area of anti-corruption.


Partnerships with other development partners in the fight against corruption:


Contact person in UNDP:

  • Matthias Meier (program officer): matthias.meier@undp.org


Contact person in UNODC:

  • Richard Philippart (program officer): richard.philippart@unodc.org


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