When the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, Lao nationalists formed a movement known as Lao Issara (15) to block the return of Laos to French jurisdiction.
In the meantime, in early 1949, the Lao Issara movement split (19) over the question of relations with the Viet Minh (Stuart-Fox and Kooyman 1992: 73), and based on the Viet Minh model Prince Souphanouvong (20) formed the Free Lao Front--by drawing together anti-French forces, including Faydang and his Hmong Resistance League formed in 1946 (Dommen 1971: 75)--which later became known as the Pathet Lao (PL)--to carry on the anti-French resistance (Stuart-Fox and Kooyman 1992: 46, 143).
It was unanimously agreed to creat e the Neo Lao Issara, or [Free Lao Front], and to set up a new Government of National Resistance" (Burchett 1959: 232; Langer and Zasloff 1970: 49-50).
Such a historical narrative skips over his activities in the Lao Issara in Thailand in the late 1940s and says nothing of his refusal to collaborate with the Vietnamese in 1950.
Thao Oun Sananikone, a former partisan of the Lao Pen Lao, member of the Lao Issara (see below for these movements) and close collaborator of Isan separatists, explained in secret meetings with the French in 1949 that ethnic Lao in Thailand--such as Thongin Phuriphat, Tieng Serikhan, etc.
Also known as the 'Promoters' (Khana Kokan), the Lao Issara leadership consisted of patriotic civil servants who had worked in the French colonial administration and a group of Lao like Oun who had been in Thailand during World War II as exiles or in the service of the Bangkok government.
All alone, Phetsarath was immediately drawn to the Lao Issara as his Japanese backers disappeared and his problems with the French and the Luang Phrabang court exploded.
15) The Lao Issara seized power following the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
19) The Lao Issara Government was dissolved following the signing of the Franco-Lao Convention that recognized Laos as an independent state (although the French retained control of various functions, including defense).
The negotiations leading to formation of the first coalition in 1957 aimed both to heal the split in the Lao Issara going back to 1949, and to restore the unity of the country proclaimed in 1945.
The radical wing of the Lao Issara that chose to ally itself with the Viet Minh did so with exactly the same goals as those moderates who returned to take part in the political process: namely, to establish the independence and unity of the country, albeit as a communist state.
28 The driving figure was Prince Phetsarath, buoyed up by the Lao Issara.