Laos’s parliament building. Photo credit: Flickr/ilf_ (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Freedom House Rating
March 2026 (due)
February 21, 2021
Laos held parliamentary elections and provincial on February 21, 2021.
Laos is a one-party communist state. Democracy activists and dissidents face arrest and forced disappearances. In previous elections, all candidates are members of (or approved by) the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LRPR). Moreover, there is no organized opposition in the country. Therefore, elections are neither free nor fair, and do not offer voters any real choices.
In 2016, Laos held provincial elections for the first time. But similar to the parliamentary elections, the provincial polls did not meet standards for free or fair elections.
Maria Siow, South China Morning Post (February 21, 2021): Laos leaders fear ‘domino effect’ of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement amid election
Mu Sochua, The Diplomat (February 19, 2021): Laos’ Pointless Election
David Hutt, Asia Times (November 27, 2019): Laos democrats fight a lonely losing struggle
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Updated March 1, 2021