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Kaysone Phomvihane

Kaysone Phomvihane (Lao: ໄກສອນ ພົມວິຫານ) (13 December 1920 – 21 November 1992) was the leader of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party from 1955 until his death in 1992. He also served as the first Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 1975 to 1991 and then as President from 1991 to 1992.

Kaysone Phomvihane
ໄກສອນ ພົມວິຫານ
Kaysone Phomvihane 1978.jpg
1st Chairman of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
In office
22 March 1955 – 21 November 1992
Succeeded byKhamtai Siphandon
2nd President of Laos
In office
15 August 1991 – 21 November 1992
Prime MinisterKhamtai Siphandon
Preceded byPhoumi Vongvichit (Acting)
Succeeded byNouhak Phoumsavanh
11th Prime Minister of Laos
In office
8 December 1975 – 15 August 1991
Phoumi Vongvichit (Acting)
Preceded bySouvanna Phouma
Succeeded byKhamtai Siphandon
Personal details
Born13 December 1920
Savannakhet, French Indochina
Died21 November 1992 (aged 71)
Vientiane, Laos
Political partyLao People's Revolutionary Party


Kaysone was born Nguyen Cai Song[1] to a Vietnamese father named Nguyen Tri Loan, and a Lao mother named Nang Dok. He had two sisters: Nang Souvanthong, living in Thailand and Nang Kongmany in the USA.[2] He was born in Na Seng village, Khanthabouli district (now Kaysone Phomvihane District, Savannakhet Province), Laos.

Kaysone attended law school at University of Indochina in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Nouhak Phoumsavan. He dropped out of law school to fight the French colonialists who were in Vietnam. Later, he joined the Pathet Lao movement, which was also fighting the French colonialists.

He became an active revolutionary while studying in the Indochinese capital of Hanoi (now the capital of Vietnam) during the 1940s. The Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA) was established by Kaysone Phomvihane on January 20, 1949. He was minister of defence of Resistance Government (of the Neo Lao Issara) from 1950. In 1955 he was instrumental in setting up the LPRP at Sam Neua in northern Laos, and subsequently served as the Pathet Lao leader, with Souphanouvong as its figurehead. In the years which followed, he led communist forces against the Kingdom of Laos and U.S. forces. After their victory he served as Prime Minister from the founding of the Lao PDR in 1975 until 1991 and later President until his death in 1992. He married Thongvinh Phomvihane.

Kaysone displayed expert skills in handling relations with Vietnam.[citation needed] The demarcation process started in 1977 and just finished in 2007. According to western journalist the Lao/Viet borderline is "very close" to the 1945 border between Laos and Tonkin and Annam, respectively.

According to Vatthana Pholsena, assistant professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore and author of the book "Post-war Laos", Kaysone Phomvihane was the top policy maker in LPDR, and a strongman. He created Sekong Province to honour the southern minority for their support in the war effort.

Kaysone Phomvihane Museum

Kaysone died in Laos's capital, Vientiane. After Kaysone's death, the government of Laos built a museum in Kaysone's honour, in Vientiane, partially funded by Vietnam.[3]

In 2012 his cremated ashes were transferred from their original resting place to the newly built National Cemetery.[4]

Kaysone Phomvihane on the new 2000 kip


His younger son, Sanyahak Phomvihane, was elected to the LPRP Central Committee at the 8th LPRP Congress and became a Major General at the age of 40 in 2008. However, he suffered an early death, at the age of 45, on 19 July 2013.[5] His elder son, Xaysomphone Phomvihane (born 10 October 1954) currently serves as President of the Lao Front for National Construction. His other son, Santiphap Phomvihane currently serves as Governor of Savannakhet Province.

Foreign honoursEdit


  1. ^ Asia & Pacific Review. Published by World of Information, 1994, ISBN 0-7494-1069-8, pg 117
  2. ^ Arthur J. Dommen, The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, Indiana University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-253-33854-9, pg 181
  3. ^ "Former President Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial Museum". Visiting Arts, Laos Cultural Profile. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Limited, Bangkok Post Public Company. "Rising Laos political star dies". Retrieved 28 July 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by
Souvanna Phouma
Prime Minister of Laos
Succeeded by
Khamtai Siphandon
Preceded by
Phoumi Vongvichit
(as Acting President)
President of Laos
Succeeded by
Nouhak Phoumsavanh
Party political offices
Preceded by
General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
Succeeded by
(as Chairman)
Preceded by
(as General Secretary)
Chairman of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
Succeeded by
Khamtai Siphandon