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Yearbook 2002

Laos. No political thunderstorm could be discerned when new representatives were elected February 23 to the country's parliament, the National Assembly. Of the 109 seats, the ruling Communist Party filled 108. According to Countryaah website, the only non-party candidate out of the 166 who stood in the election was the Justice Minister, who was re-elected.

2002 Laos

On average, the new parliament was younger and more educated, which led the outside world to believe that a rejuvenation would occur when the National Assembly elected a new government a few weeks later. However, it turned out that the old political line was stuck and almost the whole old government remained.

In July, Laos, along with other countries in the region as well as the United States, signed a declaration on counter-terrorism. The agreement meant, among other things, that the US could provide technical and financial assistance to the region to combat terrorism and that the countries would exchange information with each other.

The country received devastating criticism from the human rights organization Amnesty International for its treatment of prisoners. Torture is routine and people are arrested and detained arbitrarily, according to Amnesty. The prisoners also receive no medical care if needed.

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