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The World

Laotians voted in the first national election since their Communist rulers seized power 13 years ago. Officials called the balloting a step toward “socialist democracy” but said it would bring no policy changes. Officials said 121 candidates, about two-thirds of them Communist Party members, were running for the 79 seats on the Supreme People’s Council. Premier Kaysone Phoumvihan said a new government will be formed in about 18 months, after the newly elected national council drafts Laos’ first constitution. Kaysone has been premier since 1975.


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