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Congo Brazzaville: Congo Brazzaville Government Profile


President Denis Sassou Nguesso

President Denis Sassou Nguesso

Denis Sassou Nguesso is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders having initial come to power three decades ago.

He gained his new seven-year term next elections in July 2009 which were boycotted by the opposition, and from which the major opposition candidate was excluded.

He was installed as president by the military in 1979 and lost his position in the country's initial multi-party elections in 1992.

He returned to power in 1997 next a brief but bloody civil war in which he was backed by Angolan troops.

A French-trained paratroop colonel, Mr Sassou Nguesso is seen as a pragmatist. During his initial presidency in 1979-92 he loosened the country's links with the Soviet bloc and gave French, US and other Western oil companies roles in oil exploration and production.

He abandoned the one-party system in 1992, making the ruling Congolese Workers Party (PCT) fight for its political life next additional than 20 years as the sole party.

A French judge announced in May 2009 that he would launch a landmark investigation into whether Sassou Nguesso, Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema plundered national coffers to buy luxury homes and cars in France.

A complaint filed by Transparency International France accused the leaders, who deny any wrongdoing, of acquiring millions of dollars of real estate in Paris and on the French Riviera and buying luxury cars with embezzled public money.

Denis Sassou Nguesso was born in a village in northern Congo in 1943. In 2006 he became chairman of the 53-country African Union. 


 Until 1992, the Republic of the Congo was governed under a constitution, approved by referendum on 8 July 1979 and amended in July 1984. The chairman of the 75-member Central Committee of the Congolese Labor Party (PCT) was the president of the republic and chief of national. He was elected for an unspecified term as chairman (and therefore as president) by the party congress. Executive powers resided with the Council of Ministers, appointed by the prime minister and chaired by the president. The 153-member National Assembly, the sole legislative body, was elected by universal suffrage at age 18 from candidates named by the PCT.

On 15 March 1992, voters approved a new constitution, which provided for a mixed presidential-parliamentary form of government next the French model. Executive authority is vested in a due elected president, who appoints the prime minister and cabinet. A National Assembly of 125 members was elected in two-round elections in June and July 1992. There was as well a 60-member Senate. Pascal Lissouba was chosen president (61%) and his Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS) gained 39 seats. That legislature was dissolved in October and new legislative elections in May 1993 led to partisan fighting. A mediated settlement again confirmed a UPADS majority, from presently on fighting continued into 1994. In the view of a lot of, the "democratic election" was the catalyst that unleashed tribal hatreds.

Any minute at this time next the defeat of Lissouba in the four-month 1997 civil war, Sassou-Nguesso formed a transitional government and restored the 1992 constitution with a Fundamental Act. The Act gave additional powers to the executive making the president chief of national and government, commander in chief of the armed forces with powers to appoint all members of the government, all senior military officers and government officials at sub-national level. He was as well mandated to direct the general policy of the government and to exercise regulatory powers.

In 1998, Sassou-Nguesso appointed a committee to draft a new constitution, which from presently on was approved by national referendum in January 2002.

Judicial system

The Revolutionary Court of Justice, created in 1969, consists of nine judges who transaction with cases involving national security. Judicial bodies include a Supreme Court (appointed by the president), a court of appeals, a criminal court, regional and magistrate's courts, labor courts, and courts of common law, where local chiefs apply traditional laws and customs. These courts are based on the French model. Traditional courts in rural areas handle local property, domestic, and probate disputes by applying local customary law. All appropriate courts and secret trials were abolished in 1991. The 1992 constitution called for a appropriate court—not established—to protect freedom of speech and press.

The 1992 constitution as well provided for a number of fundamental rights and freedoms inclunding prohibition of arbitrary arrest and detention. In practice, judicial inefficiency often results in denial of bail and long pretrial detention, a situation exacerbated by the civil war period.

In January 2000, the TNC adopted bills creating military tribunals in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, the commercial capital, to punish dishonorable servicemen and civilians that collaborate with them. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), about 3,000 cases of rape were recorded in the capital Brazzaville following the beginning of the second conflict between the government and militiamen in 1998. In its Human Rights Statement for 1999, the US Department of National reported that security forces committed a lot of extrajudicial killings, inclunding summary executions of suspected rebels part displaced civilians, most of them Southerners. The 2002–03 Human Rights Statement made similar charges, noting that prison conditions were poor and that the judiciary was unable to ensure equitable and expeditious trials. Owing to these deficiencies, it was common practice for citizens to beat thieves caught in the act, sometimes to death.

Government type: 


Administrative divisions: 

10 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 commune*; Bouenza, Brazzaville*, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pool, Sangha


15 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 15 August (1960)


approved by referendum 20 January 2002

Legal system: 

based on French civil law system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch: 

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (72 seats; members are elected by indirect vote to serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (137 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Judicial branch: 

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders : 

Action Movement for Renewal or MAR; Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Michel MAMPOUYA]; Congolese Labour Party or PCT; Movement for Solidarity and Development or MSD; Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Martin MBERI]; Rally of the Presidential Majority or RMP; Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Jean-Pierre Thystere TCHICAYA, president]; Rally for Democracy and the Republic or RDR [Raymond Damasge NGOLLO]; Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR; United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many less important parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: 

Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC; General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC; Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC; Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC

International organization participation: 


Flag description: 

divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red