Souphanouvong, Prince

Souphanouvong, Prince

(so͞ofä`no͞ovŏng'), 1909–95, Laotian government official; half-brother of Prince Souvanna PhoumaSouvanna Phouma, Prince
, 1901–84, government official of Laos. Of royal descent, he was trained as an engineer. From 1950 he held a variety of key government posts, including the premiership (1951–54, 1956–58, and 1960). Caught between U.S.
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. Although a member of Laos's royal family, he was an active nationalist and fought the French as a member of the pro-Communist Pathet LaoPathet Lao
, left-wing nationalist group that was ultimately victorious in the Laotian civil war that began in the mid-1950s. The name was first used in 1950 by Lao forces after the they joined the Viet Minh's revolt against the French, and it became the generic term for the Lao
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. After Laos gained independence, he joined (1958) a coalition cabinet. Arrested after rightists took power in 1959, he escaped in 1960 to lead the Pathet Lao forces in opposition. He was a Pathet Lao delegate to the Geneva Conference on Laos (1961–62), and in the resulting coalition government he was vice premier and minister of economic planning. When the coalition fell to renewed fighting (1963), Souphanouvong rejoined the Pathet Lao. In 1973, an agreement was reached with Souvanna Phouma ending the fighting, and a new coalition government was formed (1974) with Souphanouvong heading an advisory body. When the Pathet Lao came to power as a result of the North Vietnamese victory in VietnamVietnam
, officially Socialist Republic of Vietnam, republic (2015 est. pop. 93,572,000), 128,400 sq mi (332,642 sq km), Southeast Asia. Occupying the eastern coastline of the Southeast Asian peninsula, Vietnam is bounded by China on the north, by Laos and Cambodia on the west,
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 in 1975, Souphanouvong became president of Laos. He resigned in 1986.
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