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World > Africa > Gabon > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Gabon - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Under the 1961 constitution (revised in 1975, rewritten in 1991, and revised in 2003), Gabon is a republic with a presidential form of government. The National Assembly has 120 deputies elected for a 5-year term. The president is elected by universal suffrage for a 7-year term. The president can appoint and dismiss the prime minister, the cabinet, and judges of the independent Supreme Court. The president also has other strong powers, such as authority to dissolve the National Assembly, declare a state of siege, delay legislation, and conduct referenda. A 2003 constitutional amendment removed presidential term limits and facilitated a presidency for life.

In 1990 the government made major changes to Gabon's political system. A transitional constitution was drafted in May 1990 as an outgrowth of the national political conference in March-April and later revised by a constitutional committee. Among its provisions were a Western-style bill of rights; creation of a National Council of Democracy to oversee the guarantee of those rights; a governmental advisory board on economic and social issues; and an independent judiciary. After approval by the National Assembly, the PDG Central Committee, and the President, the Assembly unanimously adopted the constitution in March 1991. Multiparty legislative elections were held in 1990-91, despite the fact that opposition parties had not been declared formally legal.

The elections produced the first representative, multiparty National Assembly. In January 1991, the Assembly passed by unanimous vote a law governing the legalization of opposition parties. After President Bongo was re-elected in a disputed election in 1993 with 51% of votes cast, social and political disturbances led to the 1994 Paris Conference and Accords, which provided a framework for the next elections. Local and legislative elections were delayed until 1996-97. In 1997, constitutional amendments were adopted to create an appointed Senate and the position of vice president, and to extend the president's term to 7 years.

Facing a divided opposition, President Bongo was re-elected in December 1998. Although the main opposition parties claimed the elections had been manipulated, there was none of the civil disturbance that followed the 1993 election. Peaceful though flawed legislative elections in 2001-02 produced a National Assembly dominated by the President's party and its allies. National Assembly elections were held again in 2006.

In November 2005, President Bongo was elected for his sixth term. He won re-election easily, but opponents claim that the balloting process was marred by irregularities. There were some instances of violence following the announcement of Bongo's win, but Gabon generally remained peaceful.

For administrative purposes, Gabon is divided into 9 provinces, which are further divided into 36 prefectures and 8 separate subprefectures. The president appoints the provincial governors, the prefects, and the subprefects.

Principal Government Officials
President of the Republic, Founder of the Gabonese Democratic Party--El Hadj Omar Bongo
Vice President--Didjob Divungi Di Ndinge
Prime Minister, Head of Government--Jean Eyeghe Ndong
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation--Jean Ping
Ambassador to the United States--Jules Marius Ogouebandja
Ambassador to the United Nations--Denis Dangue-Rewaka

Gabon maintains an embassy in the United States at 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-797-1000).


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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