BANGKOK, Thailand — Prince Souphanouvong, who fought his half-brother Souvanna Phouma for over 20 years to control Laos, has stepped down as president for health reasons, state radio said Friday.
The radio, monitored in Bangkok, gave no details about the health of the 77-year-old prince, the Communist government's last link with the 700-year monarchy it abolished in 1975.
Deputy Premier Phoumi Vongvichit, who ranks fourth in the party's seven-man politburo after Souphanouvong, was named temporary president, the radio said.
The Laotian diplomats here had no details about the prince's health. But they said Vientiane, which is expected to hold a Communist Party congress in mid-November, needed a temporary replacement to attend several coming state functions.