Khamtai Siphandone

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Khamtai Siphandone
ຄຳໄຕ ສີພັນດອນ
Siphandone in 2004
Chairman of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
In office
24 November 1992 – 21 March 2006
Preceded byKaysone Phomvihane
Succeeded byChoummaly Sayasone (as General Secretary)
4th President of Laos
In office
24 February 1998 – 8 June 2006
Prime MinisterSisavath Keobounphanh
Bounnhang Vorachith
Vice PresidentOudom Khattigna
Choummaly Sayasone
Preceded byNouhak Phoumsavanh
Succeeded byChoummaly Sayasone
12th Prime Minister of Laos
In office
15 August 1991 – 24 February 1998
PresidentKaysone Phomvihane
Nouhak Phoumsavanh
Preceded byKaysone Phomvihane
Succeeded bySisavath Keobounphanh
Deputy Prime Minister of Laos
In office
2 December 1975 – 15 August 1991
Minister of Defense
In office
2 December 1975 – 15 August 1991
Prime MinisterKaysone Phomvihane
Preceded byPost established
Succeeded byChoummaly Sayasone
Personal details
Born (1924-02-08) 8 February 1924 (age 99)
Champasak, French Protectorate of Laos, French Indochina (now Laos)
Political partyLao People's Revolutionary Party (1955–2006)
SpouseThongvanh Siphandone[1]

General Khamtai Siphandone (Lao: ຄຳໄຕ ສີພັນດອນ; born 8 February 1924)[2] is a Laotian politician who was Chairman of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party from 24 November 1992 to 21 March 2006 and President of Laos[3] from 24 February 1998 to 8 June 2006, when he was replaced by Choummaly Sayasone. He was a member of the Communist Party of Indochina in 1954 and a member of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party in 1956.

Early life[edit]

Siphandone comes from a peasant family from the far south of Laos. His first job was as a postman. He joined the national liberation movement Lao Issara after the end of the Second World War, which stood for the independence of Laos and against the return of the French protectorate administration. Before the French regained control of Savannakhet in March 1946, Siphandone seized the entire provincial fund (150,000 piastres). He became an officer of the armed wing of the movement and in 1948 their representative for southern Laos. After the split of Lao Issara in 1950 he joined the Viet Minh-backed Pathet Lao.[4]

In 1954 he became a member of the Communist Party of Indochina, and in 1955 the Lao People's Party, whose central committee he was from 1957. He was considered a close confidant of the first Secretary-General Kaysone Phomvihane. In 1962 he became his successor as chief of staff of the armed units of the Pathet Lao. In 1966 he became commander-in-chief of the resulting "Lao People's Liberation Army", which fought with North Vietnamese support, in the Laotian civil war against the royal troops. In 1972 he rose to the Politburo of the LPRP.[4]

Political career[edit]

After the Communist takeover in 1975, he became Minister of Defence and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers. He held this office for 16 years. After Kaysone and Nouhak Phoumsavanh he was from the 5th party congress in 1991 number three in the party leadership. On 15 August 1991, he became Kaysone's successor as Prime Minister of Laos. After the death of longtime party leader Kaysone in 1992, Siphandone rose to the top of the party.

He was the military commander of the Pathet Lao rebellion. On its takeover of the Laotian government in 1975 he became minister of defence, commander of the army, and a deputy prime minister. On the creation of chairmanship of the LPRP in 1991, he became prime minister, succeeding party leader Kaysone Phomvihane, who became president. Siphandone became party leader on Kaysone's death, and succeeded Nouhak Phoumsavanh as president in 1998. At the 8th Party Congress in 2006, he became an Advisor to the LPRP Central Committee.

Siphandone remained as party leader until 21 March 2006, when he was replaced by Choummaly. As expected, he stepped down as President soon after the 30 April 2006, National Assembly elections.


His son Sonexay Siphandone joined the LPRP Politburo in 2016 and became Prime Minister of Laos in 2022.


  1. ^ "Prime Minister of Laos Khamtai Siphandone and wife Madam Thongvanh being greeted by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Mrs Goh". Archive Online. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  2. ^ Joseph Chinyong Liow, Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Southeast Asia (fourth edition, 2015), Routledge, page 212.
  3. ^ Doeden, Matt (2007) Laos in Pictures, Lerner Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8225-6590-1, p. 71
  4. ^ a b Stuart-Fox: Historical Dictionary of Laos. 2008, S. 160.
Party political offices
Preceded by President of the Lao Front for National Construction
1991 – 2001
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
1992 – 2006
Succeeded by
Choummaly Sayasone
(General Secretary)
Political offices
Preceded by
Minister for Defence of Laos
1975 – 1991
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Laos
1991 – 1998
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Laos
1998 – 2006
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Chairperson of ASEAN
Succeeded by