Professor Toshiro Nishizawa’s article titled “Challenging times ahead for Laos’s new prime minister” was published by East Asia Forum.
While rumours of former Lao prime minister Phankham Viphavanh’s premature resignation surfaced in mid-December 2022, it was only on 3 January 2023 that local media reported that Phankham had submitted a letter of resignation to President Thongloun Sisoulith, with the National Assembly having elected a new prime minister, Sonexay Siphandone, to succeed him. As a next-generation leader entrusted by senior party leaders, Sonexay Siphandone is expected to lead party technocrats in crucial cabinet positions. His premiership seems to reflect accelerated leadership rejuvenation attempts led by President Thongloun Sisoulith, with the consensus of the party’s inner circle. The new prime minister’s first task should be to prioritise policy measures considering Laos’s limited fiscal space, before establishing policy coherence over the medium term and ensuring uninterrupted support from China on the debt front.