By Phon Thikeo
March 17, 2011
Politburo member and Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong officially opened the congress, saying attendees will together study and adopt the political report and the next five year plan (2011-2015) for socio-economic development.
Congress participants will also elect Party leaders for the further advancement of the country.
Head of the Personnel Committee of the Party Central Committee, Mr Bounthong Chitmany, reported on the qualifications of the participants. Some 576 people (of whom 516 are men) from 27 ethnic groups and representing 191,780 Party members nationwide are attending the congress.
Of these 576 representatives, 52 people make up the Party Central Committee of the 8th Party Congress. Their numbers will increase by 15.66 percent at the 9th Congress, Mr Bounthong said.
Party Secretary General and President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone delivered a draft political report on the achievements over the past five years, stressing that Laos had protected its independence, and maintained domestic security, political stability and a steady rate of economic growth.
Under the previous five-year socio-economic development plan, annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an average of 7.9 percent and the overall livelihood of the people progressively improved. GDP per capita income reached 8.7 million kip (US$1,069) in fiscal year 2009-2010.
Family poverty levels fell from 27.7 percent in fiscal 2002-2003 to 20.4 percent in fiscal 2009-2010, the president said.