Laos, one of last communist nations, elects new leaders

Laos, one of the world's last communist nations, has elected its top government leaders at a meeting of its newly seated National Assembly.

State-run news agency KPL reported that the assembly voted Wednesday to endorse the selections made by the ruling Communist Party at its Congress in January, where then-Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit was selected as its new secretary general.

The 78-year-old Bounnhang was elected president, while 70-year-old former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith was made prime minister. Elections are held every five years.

Laos, a poor, landlocked country with a population of just 7 million, will have a higher than usual profile this year as it has its turn holding the annual leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.