The multi-ethnic Lao people have existed and developed on this beloved land for thousands of years. More than six centuries ago, during the time of Chao Fa Ngum, our ancestors, founded the unified Lane Xang country and built it into a prosperous land. Since the 18th century, the Lao land had been repeatedly threatened and invaded by outside powers. Our people had enhanced the heroic and unyielding traditions of their ancestors and continually and persistently fought to gain independence and freedom.
Over the past 60 years, under the correct leadership of the former Indochinese Communist Party and the present Lao People's Revolutionary Party, the multi-ethnic Lao people have carried out difficult and arduous struggles full of great sacrifices until they managed to crush the yokes of domination and oppression of the colonialists and feudalist regime, completely liberated the country and established the Lao People's Democratic Republic on 2 December 1975; thus opening a new era – an era of genuine independence for the country and freedom for the people.
During the past years, our people have been together implementing the two strategic tasks of defending and building the country, thereby achieving satisfactory results in the initial stage. Now, at this new period, the social life requires that the state must have a Constitution. This Constitution is the Constitution of the People's Democratic Regime in our country. It recognises the great achievements gained by our people in the cause of struggles for national liberation and construction and defines the political regime, the socio-economic system, the rights and obligations of citizens and the system of organisation of state apparatuses in the new period. This is the first time in the history of our nation the rights to mastery of the people have been defined in the fundamental law of the country.
This Constitution is the fruit of the process of the people's discussions throughout the country. It reflects the longstanding aspirations and strong determination of the national community to strive together to fulfill the objective of building Laos a country of peace, independence, democracy, unity and prosperity.
Article 1. The Lao People's Democratic Republic is an independent country with sovereignty and territorial integrity covering both territorial waters and airspace. It is a unified country belonging to all multi-ethnic people and is indivisible.
Article 2. The state of the Lao People's Democratic Republic is a People's Democratic State. All powers are of the people, by the people and for the interests of the multi-ethnic people of all strata in society with the workers, farmers and intellectuals as key components.
Article 3. The rights of the multi-ethnic people to be the masters of the country are exercised and ensured through the functioning of the political system with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party as its leading nucleus.
Article 4. The National Assembly is the organisation of the people's representatives. The election of members of the National Assembly shall be carried out through the principles of universal, equal and direct suffrage, and secret balloting. Voters have the right to propose the dismissal of their own representatives if they are found to behave unfit to their honour and to lose the people's confidence.
Article 5. The National Assembly and all other state organisations are established and function in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism.
Article 6. The state protects the freedom and democratic rights of the people which cannot be violated by anyone. All state organisations and functionaries must popularise and propagate all policies, regulations and laws among the people and, together with the people, organise their implementations in order to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of the people. All acts of bureaucratism and harassment that can be physically harmful to the people and detrimental to their honour, lives, consciences and property are prohibited.
Article 7. The Lao Front for National Constitution, the Lao Federation of Trade Union, the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union, the Lao Women's Union and other social organisations are the organs to unite and mobilise all strata of the multi-ethnic people for taking part in the tasks of national defence and construction; develop the rights to mastership of the people and protect the legitimate rights and interests of members of their respective organisations.
Article 8. The state pursues the policy of promoting unity and equality among all ethnic groups. All ethnic groups have the rights to protect, preserve, and promote the fine customs and cultures of their own tribes and of the nation. All acts of creating division and discrimination among ethnic groups are prohibited. The state implements every measure to gradually develop and upgrade the levels of socio-economy of all ethnic groups.
Article 9. The state respects and protects all lawful activities of the Buddhists and of other religious followers mobilises and encourages the Buddhist monks and novices as well as the priests of other religions to participate in the activities which are beneficial to the country and people. All acts of creating division of religions and classes of people are prohibited.
Article 10. The state manages the society by the provisions of the Constitution and laws. All party and state organisations, mass organisations, social organisations and all citizens must function within the bounds of the Constitution and laws.
Article 11. The state implements the policy of national defence and security with the participation of all people in all aspects. The national defence and security forces must enhance their loyalty to the country and people ; carry out the duty to protect the gains of the revolution, the lives, property and labour of the people ; and contribute to the tasks of national development.
Article 12. The Lao People's Democratic Republic pursues the foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship and cooperation; and promotes the relations and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the principles of peaceful coexistence ; respect for - each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; noninterference in each other's internal affairs ; equality and mutual inerests. The Lao People's Democratic Republic supports the struggle of the world people for peace, national independence, democracy, and social progress.