Member of the Secretariat Committee of the Party Central Committee Mr Soukanh Mahalath was appointed as the new Party Secretary and Mayor of Vientiane on Monday, replacing Mr Sombat Yialiher who will move to a new post.
A ceremony to appoint the new mayor was held in Vientiane, witnessed by high-ranking officials from the Party and government, including Standing Member of the Party Secretariat Committee and Vice President of Laos Mr Bounnhang Vorachit, the governors of Vientiane's nine districts and officials from various departments of the capital.
Mr Soukanh was the Governor of Champassak province in 2005 and served as Party Secretary of the province in 2006. Prior to this, he was Governor of the Bank of the Lao PDR and Minister of Finance.
It is unclear what exact position Mr Sombat will hold next, as sources have only said he will serve at the central level.
Mr Sombat was appointed as the Party Secretary of Vientiane in June 2006 and became Vientiane Mayor in October 2008. Before that, he was the Governor of Xayaboury province.
The appointment of the new mayor was in response to the political needs in the new era to contribute to national development and poverty reduction.
Mr Bounnhang said the Party Congress last month stipulated goals for the country to achieve in 2015 so it is important to reassign leading officials to ensure all goals are met.
“The reshuffle of leading officials is quite normal in our country,” he said, explaining that the change was not due to any errors on the former mayor's behalf.
“Nobody is perfect. A person who does a lot of jobs can have some shortcomings. I urge all officials here to cooperate with the new mayor to further develop the capital and address any issues or flaws.”
Mr Bounnhang also urged officials to maintain solidarity with the Party and ensure they understand the Party's policy so that they can follow it properly.
Mr Sombat took the occasion to highlight some of the achievements during his term as mayor.
He said that over the past five years, Vientiane has developed continuously with economic growth of 12.1 percent. GDP reached 12,083 billion kip and annual income per capita stood at US$1,755.
Foreign investors put US$3,353 million into 1,052 projects in Vientiane in the past five years.
“In the past five years I joined with Vientiane residents to prev ent the capital from flooding, as well as oversaw Vientiane's successful hosting of the SEA Games in 2009 and its 450th anniversary in 2010,” Mr Sombat said.
However, he also accepted some shortcomings during his mission, including the prevalence of illegal trade, drug abuse, robberies, road accidents and land disputes.
The new mayor Mr Soukanh vowed to work hard and ensure Vientiane continues to achieve its goals in the next five years based on the Resolution of the 9th Party Congress and the recommendations of Mr Bounnhang.