BANGKOK (Kyodo) -- The parliament of Laos on Friday voted to elect Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone as the new prime minister to succeed Phankham Viphavanh, who stepped down citing health concerns, according to local media.
After the election in the National Assembly in the capital Vientiane, Sonexay, one of the children of former President Khamtay Siphandone, thanked the assembly members and vowed to make utmost efforts to fulfil his new duties, the reports said.
Phankham, who became the prime minister in March 2021, also spoke at the assembly, saying his unfit health prevented him from undertaking the hard work needed to tackle the current economic and financial hardship the country is facing.
Laos has been hit by economic difficulties stemming from a sharp currency depreciation and surging inflation. The World Bank said in its report in November that the country's public debt could surpass 100 percent of gross domestic product by the end of this year.