Choummaly Sayasone (March 6th, 1936 - ) was the general secretary and president of Laos from 2006 to 2016. He served as Minister of Defense from 1991 - 2001 and became vice president from 2001 - 2006, where he was elected to leadership position by the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. He was re-elected again 2011, but he stopped seeking election and effectively retired in 2016.
Choummaly Sayasone was born in Attapu. He joined the Party's Politburo in 1991 and served as Minister of Defense from 1991 to 2001. Subsequently he was the third Vice President of Laos from 2001 to 2006.
He was elected as the LPRP's General Secretary on 21 March 2006, in the aftermath of the Party's 8th Congress, by the first plenum of the eighth Central Committee, succeeding Khamtai Siphandon as de facto leader of Laos. He subsequently succeeded Siphandon as the 6th President of Laos on June 8, 2006.
In March 2011, he was reelected to his position as the LPRP's General Secretary at the 9th LPRP Congress. In June 2011, he was re-elected as President of Laos at the seventh National Assembly. He did not seek re-election to the LPRP Central Committee at the 10th LPRP Congress in January 2016, indicating his retirement. Bounnhang Vorachit was elected to succeed him as General Secretary on 22 January 2016.
Under his rule, the Laotian government perpetrated heavy restrictions on freedom of speech, expression, press and religion, forced disappearances (notably that of Sombath Somphone), attacks on civilians by military officials, abuse/torture of prisoners and dissidents along with rape and murder by Lao People's Army. The U.S. Department of State reported that "The government's overall human rights record worsened during the year" during Choummaly's first year of presidency.