• Short Summary

    Vientiane Radio announced Wednesday (3 December) that King Savang Vatthana has abdicated the Laotian throne and that the 700-year-old monarchy has been abolished.

  • Description

    Vientiane Radio announced Wednesday (3 December) that King Savang Vatthana has abdicated the Laotian throne and that the 700-year-old monarchy has been abolished.

    The Radio said that the National Political Coalition Council and the Provisional Government of National Unity have been dissolved and a People's Democratic Republic, with a President, has been established.

    King Vatthana, who is 68, succeeded to the throne in 1959 but had already fulfilled royal duties for five years because his father was ill.

    Laos gained independence within the French Union in 1949 and full independence in 1953 as a constitutional monarchy. The French had ruled since the 19th century in the 'Kingdom of a Million Elephants'.

    After independence, a bewildering series of factional battles and shifting coalitions racked the former colony and the spread of the Vietnam war created mass suffering and an ever-growing stream of refugees.

    Within Laos, the political and military confrontation was between the Vientiane government of Prince Souvanna Phouma and the pro-communist Pathet Lao forces led by his half-brother, Prince Souvanouvong, both cousins of the King.

    A ceasefire in February 1973 between the government and the Pathet Lao was followed by a peace agreement later in the year, giving some hope for peace in the landlocked kingdom.

    Under the peace agreement, a Joint Political Council was formed under the chairmanship of Prince Souvanouvong to formulate policy and help the coalition government bring about national conciliation after years of civil war.

    The new developments now appear to consolidate the pro-communist Pathet Lao in full control of the nations' three million people.

    Library film shows King Vatthana reviewing a military parade in May 1973, marking laos's National Day.

    SYNOPSIS: Vientiane Radio announced on Wednesday that King Savang Vatthana has abdicated the Laotian throne and the 700-year-old monarchy has been abolished. The Radio also said that the provisional government set up under a peace agreement in 1973 has been dissolved and a People's Democratic Republic, with a President, established.

    The King, who is 68, succeeded to the throne in 1959 but was quite familiar with royal duties, having acted for his ailing father for five years previously. His political role in the last few years of his rule was limited. He was never formally crowned because he believed that there should be no coronation while his country was in a state of civil war. He has been described as a humane, peaceable man and a devout Buddhist.

    Laos won full independence from France in 1953 as a constitutional monarchy. After independence, a bewildering series of factional battles and shifting coalitions racked the country. The political and military confrontation was between the Vientiane government of Prince Souvanna Phouma and the pro-communist Pathet Lao forces led by his half-brother, Prince Souvanouvong. With the abolition of the monarchy, the position of the Pathet Lao has been consolidated as leaders of the nation's three million people.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA1RVKTB7UUQME44SXABFXAHNCO
    Media URN:
    VLVA1RVKTB7UUQME44SXABFXAHNCO
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    03/12/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:05:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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