Congo became independent from France in 1960.
Former Prime Minister Fulbert Youlou was elected
President of the New Republic.
YouTube's French-friendly policies soon created
discontent, especially among the country's socialists.
As early as 1963, Youlou was forced to surrender power
to a military council, led by Alphonse Massamba-Debat
who became new president. The Council abstained from all
French influence. The country became a one-party state
ruled by the Marxist-Leninist Party of the
National Revolutionary Movement (MNR).
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Republic of the Congo. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
In 1968, Captain Marien Ngouabi took power in a new
military coup. The Marxist-Leninist Congolese
Workers' Party (PCT) now
became the only allowed party and the country was named
Congo. Ngouabi remained in power for nearly ten years
despite several coup attempts. Power struggles within
the PCT characterized the 1970s. The political unrest
increased the contradictions between the peoples of the
north and south, which supported various political
Ngouabi was killed in a coup attempt in 1977. Former
President Massamba-Debat is suspected to be behind and
executed. The new head of state became Colonel
Jacques-Joachim Yhombi-Opango. His two years in power
came to be characterized by deteriorating finances and
hard grip on the press and protesters. The ethnic
contradictions were sharpened. In 1979, Yhombi-Opango
was deposed and replaced by Colonel (later General)
Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who also became chairman of the
PCT Central Committee.
In the same year, Sassou-Nguesso introduced a new
constitution and initiated a more Western-friendly
policy with some liberalization of the economy. When he
was re-elected in 1984, it was a great victory for the
reform-friendly bankruptcy party.
The economy deteriorated further in the 1980s,
exacerbating ethnic contradictions. In 1987, an armed
uprising in the military was defeated with the help of
The one-party regime ends
President Sassou-Nguesso was re-elected in 1989. The
same year, the Berlin Wall collapsed and the entire
communist system in Eastern and Central Europe
collapsed. Like the Communist parties in Europe, PCT has
now changed ideology and switched to advocating market
economics and political reform. In 1990, the PCT
abandoned Marxism-Leninism and decided to introduce
At a conference on the nation's future political
system in 1991, it was decided that the constitution
should be rewritten and that general elections be held.
Free unions were allowed. Following a referendum in
1992, the new constitution was introduced which
guaranteed free elections and multi-party systems.
In the parliamentary elections that year, opposition
Pan-African Social Democratic Union (Upads)
prevailed and party leader Pascal
Lissouba won the presidential election. The country
changed its name to the Republic of Congo.
Opponents of the old government were allowed to return
However, by forming an alliance with a number of
other parties, the PCT succeeded in retaining the
majority in Parliament, which directed a declaration of
confidence in the government. New elections were
announced until the spring of 1993. The first round of
elections was won by the Upads Alliance. PCT accused the
opponents of electoral fraud and refused to participate
in the second round. The political turmoil eventually
turned into fighting between the parties' militia groups
and in 1997 a full civil war broke out.
Back to power
After four months of fighting, the PCT side succeeded
in chasing Lissouba and his government out of the
country with the help of Angolan soldiers. In October
1997, Sassou-Nguesso proclaimed himself president and
appointed a transitional government. A national
transitional council was appointed to serve as
parliament for the next election.
Lissouba was forced to go into exile, but he and
Upads refused to admit defeat. The war continued,
especially in the southeastern region of Pool, where the
capital Brazzaville is located. The fighting was fought
between the PCT militia Kobrorna and the country's
regular forces on the one hand and the Upads militia
Cocoyerna and the opposition militia group Ninjas on the
By the end of 1999, President Sassou-Nguesso's
forces, with the help of Angolan soldiers, had gained
military superiority. A peace agreement was concluded
and in 2000 the last resistance forces capitulated. The
civil war was largely over, although fighting continued
to flourish in the Pool region in the coming years.
The civil war of 1997-2000 had claimed tens of
thousands of casualties and driven about 800,000 people
into flight. It had caused enormous material damage and
destroyed the country's economy and social system. All
involved groups were accused by human rights
organizations of gross abuses against the civilian
In a 2002 referendum, the Congolese said yes to a
new, heavily criticized constitution, which gave the
president very great power (see Political system). In
the presidential election in March of that year,
Sassou-Nguesso received 89 percent of the vote. Despite
obvious irregularities, the choice of the outside world
was recognized in the hope that it would end the
sporadic fighting between government forces and the
opposition ninja militia that still existed in Pool and
Brazzaville, but the hopes of peace came to shame. After
the election, the fighting escalated and about 50,000
people were forced to flee.
In the summer parliamentary elections in 2002, PCT
won by a wide margin. The opposition won only a few
In March 2003, the government and the Ninja militia
entered into a peace agreement, but it did not end and
the violence in Pool and Brazzaville ceased only in
In January 2007, Ninja was registered as a political
party, the National Republican Council
(Couseil National des Republicans, CNR).
In June 2008, a ceremony was held in Kinkala, the
largest city in the war-affected Pool, where rebel
leader Pastor Ntumi (Frédéric Bintsamou) officially
declared that Ninjamilisen was now dissolved. Thousands
of weapons and ammunition were collected and destroyed.
The ceremony was the start of a restructuring program,
funded by the World Bank, Sweden and other countries,
among others, which would help 30,000 former combatants
to transition to a life of peacetime.
In the summer of 2007, parliamentary elections were
held under chaotic conditions. In many places voters
could not vote because they had not received their
voting cards or were not in the voting list. In several
constituencies, the election was postponed due to
cheating and shortcomings.
The result was that PCT and its allies won a total of
125 of the 137 seats in Parliament.
At the end of 2007, a new PCT-led alliance, the
Presidential Majority Collection (RMP),
was formed to increase the support of President
Sassou-Nguesso ahead of the July 2009 presidential
Before the election, the opposition demanded that a
census be carried out so that voting lengths could be
updated. Another requirement was the appointment of an
independent election commission. The demands were
rejected by the government at the same time as the
country's constitutional court rejected 4 of the 17
people who were going to stand in the presidential
election, including Edouard Poungui of Upads.
The days before the election, the opposition - even
the parties that had participated in the dialogue with
the government - tried in vain to get the government to
postpone the election, partly because of the
shortcomings in the electoral votes. Several of the
leading opposition leaders called for electoral boycotts
because they felt that the election could not be
However, the election was conducted and won as
expected by President Sassou-Nguesso. He is said to have
received 79 percent of the vote, against 8 percent for
independent candidate Joseph Kignoumbi Kia Mboungou.
Three came Nicéphore Fylla de Saint-Eudes from the
Republican Liberal Party (Parti
républicain libéral, RP) with 7
percent. Mathias Dzon, who had been tipped to become
Sassou-Nguesso's main opponent, received 2 percent. The
elections were conducted in largely calm conditions, but
unrest was occurring in the Pool region and many
residents had left Brazzaville for fear of violence.
According to the authorities, turnout was 66 percent.
The presidential candidates who had called for a boycott
claimed that less than 10 percent of those entitled to
vote had gone to the polls and vainly demanded that the
election be redone.
African Union (AU) observers said they did not see
any signs of electoral fraud, but the domestic human
rights organization OCDH reported a number of
In August 2009, President Sassou-Nguesso was
installed for a new seven-year term in power.
PCT strengthens its position
At the end of the year, former Nine leader Pastor
Ntumi assumed a government post he had already received
in 2007. He had then been appointed chief delegate for
peace and reconstruction after the civil war of
1997-1999. At about the same time, reports of new
outbreaks of violence in the Pool region came, where it
had been relatively quiet since spring 2005.
With the 2012 parliamentary elections, the PCT
strengthened its position in Parliament. The party
doubled its mandate and got its own majority. Together
with his allies, however, PCT won slightly fewer votes
than in the 2007 election, 117 compared with 125. Upads
declined from 11 to 7 seats.
As usual, allegations of election fraud were made.
Foreign observers, including those from the African
Union, criticized the conduct of the election and felt
that voter turnout was low. No official figures on voter
turnout were announced. According to a domestic human
rights organization, only 10-15 percent of voters had