Republic of the Congo is a country located in Central Africa. With the capital city of Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo has a population of 5,240,011 based on a recent census from COUNTRYAAH. 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).
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: 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 movements.
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. Check best-medical-schools for more information about Republic of the Congo.
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 French soldiers.
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 multi-party systems.
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 from exile.
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 other.
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 population.
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 seats.
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 early 2005.
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 election.
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 conducted properly.
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 irregularities.
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 voted.