The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party on Friday elected Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith as new secretary general, replacing retiring party chief Bounnhang Vorachit, state media reported.
PM Thongloun takes charge as the country faces challenges from a potential debt default and the global impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on its fragile, $18 billion economy.
The country of more than 7 million people has a current per capita income of just over $2,500, according to World Bank data.
As prime minister since 2016 and a former foreign minister, Thongloun has been the face of the country at international events and summits, including giving addresses to the United Nations General Assembly.
He is also a veteran of the old guard of the party, which first came to power to form the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1975.