Laos consists of 16 provinces ( khoueng) , one special zone, Xaisomboun, and the municipality of Vientiane. The provinces are subdivided into districts ( muong ), townships ( tasseng ), and villages ( ban ). The president appoints provincial governors and mayors of municipalities. The prime minister appoints deputy provincial governors and deputy mayors and district chiefs. Since 1975, local administration has been restructured, with elected people's committees in the villages functioning as basic units. Both suffrage and candidacy are open to citizens 18 and over. Village heads administer at the village level. Lack of control over local party members in the rural areas appears to be a source of worry for the politburo, with its implications of corruption and even potential unrest.