From the Bangkok Post:

Laos on Thursday announced a new prime minister after the surprise resignation of Bouasone Bouphavanh months before his term was scheduled to end.

“We have a new prime minister,” government spokesman Khenthong Nuanthasing told AFP from Laos. “The former prime minister resigned.”

Fifty-six-year-old Bouasone, who had spent more than four years in office, was replaced by Thongsing Thammavong, president of the communist-dominated National Assembly, Khenthong said. Thongsing’s promotion was approved unanimously by the 101 assembly members present for the vote after Bouasone’s departure, he added.

“We did not expect he would resign because he has performed quite well in his function,” said Khenthong, adding that Bouasone told deputies he could no longer perform his duties because of “family problems.” The decision to resign was Bouasone’s alone, the spokesman said, but he remains a member of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party central committee.

Bouasone would have been eligible for another term when the party’s Congress is held early in 2011. “He can run for another post in the future,” even at the next Congress, Khenthong said.