Short for GA by Abbreviationfinder, Gabon is formally a democracy. Here is a two-chamber parliament and a variety of political parties to choose from. General elections are held on a regular basis both to Parliament’s second chamber and to the presidential post. In practice, however, almost all power lies with the president, who can be re-elected an unlimited number of times. A weak and divided opposition has allowed the Bongo family and its party PDG to sit in power since 1967.
A new constitution, which meant a transition to multi-party systems, was adopted by Parliament in March 1991. Changes to the constitution have been made several times, including 2003, 2011 and 2018. The
president, who is head of state and commander-in-chief, is elected in direct elections every seven years and can then 2003 is re-elected an unlimited number of times. The president appoints – and can dismiss – the prime minister, who is the head of government. The Government is appointed in consultation between the President and the Prime Minister. The president can also delay legislation and dissolve the National Assembly and decide on referendums.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Gabon for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
In 2018, Parliament adopted constitutional amendments that give the President a stronger influence on politics even formally. According to the previous constitutional text, the president was to govern the country in cooperation with the government. After the amendment, the president will “formulate the national policy” and the ministers will pledge loyalty to the president.
Laws are passed by a two-chamber parliament, where the 143 members of the National Assembly are elected by universal suffrage every five years. Since 1997 there has also been an upper house, the Senate, with 102 members. The members of the Senate are appointed by the country’s regional and local assemblies for six years.
The last parliamentary elections were held in October 2018. It would have actually taken place in 2016 but was postponed three times. Prior to that, elections to the National Assembly had been held in 2011.
Gabon consists of nine provinces (all with a governor at the head), divided into 37 so-called prefectures.
The largest political party is the Democratic Party of Bongos Gabon’s Democratic Party (Parti démocratique gabonais, PDG). President Omar Bongo, who died in June 2009, exercised tough control over his party as well as over the entire state apparatus. He occupied all the key posts with relatives and friends. Therefore, the Gabonese have largely failed to get involved in the political process and have instead expressed their views through strikes and demonstrations. After the August 2009 presidential election, Omar Bongo’s son Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba became new president, and in March 2010 he also became party leader for PDG.
There are a number of small parties allied to the PDG in Parliament.
The opposition had some influence during the first years after the introduction of multi-party systems in 1990 but then weakened and then split. Only PDG has had support throughout the country and among several people groups. Omar Bongo’s tactics of incorporating his enemies into unity governments were also successful. Two of the most important opposition parties of the 1990s went into the presidential camp a few years into the 2000s. It was the Social Democratic Party (PSI) and the National Forest Association’s National Collection (Rassemblement national des bucherons, RNB), which after a party split renamed the Collection for Gabon (Rassemblement pour Gabon, RPG).
Later the opposition was led by the Gabonese People’s Union (Union du peuple gabonais, UPG) and the Gabonese Union for Democracy and Development (Union gabonais pour la demokratie et le developement, UGDD). However, none of these parties sit in Parliament after the 2011 parliamentary elections, which were largely boycotted by the opposition. In the 2018 election, three opposition parties came into parliament: the newly formed Democrats, the Collection for Heritage and Modernity, and the National Union.
Opposition arrested after Internet call
Six opposites are arrested and brought to justice after they accused President Bongo and his children Pascaline and Ali Ben of calling the Gabon their private property in an internet call. After all, the Internet, unlike other media, has been left relatively free of government intervention.
Teachers and health care workers go on extensive strikes in protest of low wages and poor working conditions.
The regime prohibits action groups
Twenty action groups against corruption, poverty and environmental destruction are banned by the regime, which accuses them of political activities. In the absence of a strong opposition, precisely such groups, together with the unions, have become increasingly tenuous.