There are no democratic traditions in Equatorial Guinea short for GQ by Abbreviationfinder, which went from Spanish colony to dictatorship at independence in 1968. The constitution prescribes a multi-party system but restricts the right to form parties and participate in elections. In practice, the country is governed entirely by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, his sons and other close relatives.
President Obiang belongs to the majority people, relying on confidants from his own clan, esangui, from the city of Mongomo in the eastern mainland. Many of his relatives hold key positions in the state administration.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Equatorial Guinea for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The president is elected for seven years and has previously been re-elected endlessly. In 2011, the constitution was amended by a referendum to allow the president to be elected at most twice, but this did not apply retroactively so Obiang, who has been in power since 1979, could be re-elected as president in the 2016 election. At the same time, two positions were created as first and second vice president. The president has a very strong position overall. After the term of office, for example, he cannot be held responsible for any abuses he committed during his time as head of state. The president is also the commander-in-chief and appoints the head of government and all judges.
The constitutional changes after the 2011 referendum also meant that the Legislative Assembly, the National Assembly, was expanded to a two-chamber parliament, with the establishment of the Senate . This has 70 seats, with 55 being elected to direct elections (which happened for the first time in the 2013 parliamentary elections) while the remaining 15 are appointed by the president. The second chamber, the House of Representatives, has 100 seats added in direct elections. All Members of Parliament are elected for a term of five years. Parliament’s power, however, is weak. It rarely takes its own initiative – its primary function is to confirm the president’s decision.
In the beginning of the 2010s, work began on building a new capital, Oyala, in a remote area of the rainforest in the part of Equatorial Guinea located on the African mainland. President Obiang motivated the change of capital with the need to find a safer place for the government and the president than in Malabo on the island of Bioko in the Gulf of Guinea, which was repeatedly attacked from the sea by coup attempts. The new capital is estimated to be ready for 200,000 residents by 2020.
President Obiang’s party, Equatorial Guinea’s Democratic Party (Partido democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial, PDGE), has won superior victories in all elections since 1991. However, PDGE itself has no power – it is entirely in the hands of the president.
Opposition parties are often tied to a particular people group or clan (this also applies to PDGE). The opposition has made several attempts to unite in different alliances, but none of them have survived for any length of time, partly because of personal contradictions, poor organization and finances.
Still, the possibility for opposition parties to assert themselves in the parliamentary elections is very small. Among other things, politicians must have lived in the country for at least ten years without interruption in order to run for parliament. This excludes all who have gone into exile. In addition, a mortgage of more than SEK 1.5 million is required to register a lot. Furthermore, all parties except PDGE must apply for permission for political meetings and getting one can take several months.
The country’s most well-known opposition party is the Social Democratic Assembly (Convergencia para la democracia social, CPDS) which was formed in 1990. CPDS was represented in Parliament from the first democratic elections in 1993 and won the mandate in all elections until 2017 when CPDS failed to enter parliament. CPDS had then formed an alliance with another realistically newly formed opposition party Center Right Union (Unión de Centro Derecha, UCD). The only mandate won by the opposition in 2017 went to Citizens for Renewal (Ciudadanos por la Innovación, CI).
Several opposition groups, often mutually disagreeing, operate from Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and in recent years Gabon. Among the best known are the Equatorial Guinea Progress Party (Partido del progreso de Guinea Ecuatorial, PPGE). However, these groups have no greater influence within Equatorial Guinea. President Obiang has on several occasions called on exile politicians to come home and guarantee them security, but many are hesitant. Some returning opposition politicians have already been arrested at the airport and then disappeared.