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MP candidates race to win public votes           

Candidates competing for seats in the National Assembly (parliament) and Provincial People’s Councils (provincial parliaments) across the country are campaigning ahead of the upcoming election, scheduled for February 21.
More younger candidates have joined the race to become people’s representatives in the national parliament’s 9th legislature and provincial councils’ second legislature, the National Election Committee’s spokesman Dr Somphou Duangsavanh told Vientiane Times on Wednesday.
The change in candidate profile comes as the government is encouraging the younger generation to assume a larger role in senior state posts.

“We notice that young and middle-aged candidates are making up a much larger proportion of those standing for election this year,” Dr Somphou said.
This means there is a larger proportion of candidates compared to those aged 61 years and above.
The number of young and middle-aged candidate has increased compared to the last election, according to the spokesman, although the exact percentage increase has not been calculated.
Members of the National Election Committee have been grouped and dispatched to the provinces to oversee the campaign and supervise preparations to ensure the election goes to plan and complies with the relevant laws.
Politburo member and President of the Lao Front for National Development, Dr Xaysomphone Phomvihane, and 22 other candidates on Tuesday met voters in Vientiane to introduce themselves and explain what they hope to achieve if elected. Vientiane residents will vote for 18 MPs to represent them in the national parliament.
Visiting the northern provinces, Vice President of the National Election Committee Chansy Phosikham told local election committees to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote comes out to cast a ballot.
He stressed the need for the committees to ensure there were no invalid ballots and to maintain tight security during the voting process.
The National Election Committee said 4.3 million voters across the country will vote for 164 MPs out of 224 candidates, including 49 women, from all 18 constituencies to represent them in the national parliament.
Most candidates are newcomers to the field with just 43 members of the current legislature standing for re-election. Almost half of the candidates are aged 46 to 55, another 33 are under the age of 46, 76 are aged 56 to 60, and 12 are older than 60.
In addition, 789 candidates including 227 women are standing for election to Provincial People’s Councils.
Member of the National Election Committee and Politburo member General Chansamone Chanyalath is touring the southern provinces to give guidance on the elections, which take place every five years.
Local election committees in Xieng Khuang province said the constituency was fully prepared for the Sunday vote.
Dr Somphou said the election of members to both legislative bodies would take place on the same day. On arriving at a polling station, voters need to present a certificate issued by local authorities to prove they are eligible to vote, then they can get a voting card and cast their vote.
After the members of both legislative bodies are elected, the national and provincial parliaments will hold inaugural sessions to elect national and provincial leaders, including the state president and prime minister, and approve a new government cabinet.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update
February 11,

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