The political institutions are built on a French model and the constitution gives the president great powers of power. Political developments have been characterized by violence between different political groups and the military has a great influence on politics.
The president is the head of state. He appoints and dismisses the government ministers and appoints all senior officials in the state administration and the military. The president is elected in general elections and may be re-elected twice. Following a disputed referendum, a new constitution was adopted in the autumn of 2015, among other things, the age limit of 70 years that previously applied was abolished. And because it was a new constitution, it allowed the incumbent president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, to stand for re-election. The term of office was shortened from seven years to five years. A new post as prime minister was also established. She is appointed by the President.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Republic of the Congo for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The legislative Parliament has two chambers, the National Assembly, with 139 members and the senate with 72 senators (six from each of the country’s twelve ministries). The senators sit for six years and are appointed by local councils. The members of the National Assembly are elected directly by the people for a five-year term. Parliament cannot dismiss the President, who, on the other hand, cannot dissolve Parliament.
The constitution establishes general voting rights for anyone over the age of 18, but the electoral system is characterized by irregularities and how many who actually use their voting rights is uncertain. The government has not been able to present any figure for the turnout in the last election in 2012, while the opposition has claimed that only 10-15 percent of those entitled to vote went to the polls.
Short for CG by Abbreviationfinder, Republic of Congo is a unitary state but divided into 12 central government departments.
The country’s over 240 political parties most often appeal to a certain people group or voters from a certain region, although the constitution states that parties may not be based on ethnic, geographical or religious affiliation.
The ruling Congolese workers’ party (Parti congolais du travail, PCT) has been in power since 1979, with the exception of 1992-1997. PCT is led by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the mbouchi people group, based in northern Congo-Brazzaville. PCT was initially a Marxist-Leninist party, but when the communist system in Eastern and Central Europe collapsed around 1990, PCT Marxism also became a guiding star. Today’s PCT lacks ideological focus and serves primarily as a supporter club for President Sassou-Nguesso.
The president and the PCT have been able to offer favors and with increasing oil revenues, thereby attracting other parties to their side. In this way, Sassou-Nguesso has succeeded in obtaining support from other ethnic groups in the country, thereby pushing back the opposition which is fragmented and weak and thus difficult to form any credible alternative.
Opposition is strongest in the southern part of the country. The largest opposition party is the Panafrican Social Democratic Union (Union Panafricaine pour la demokratie social, Upads), which ruled the country from 1992 to 1997. The party lost power when the civil war broke out and its leader Pascal Lissouba was forced into exile. Upads have the greatest support in the central part of southern Congo-Brazzaville.
During Upad’s time in power, the Congolese Movement for Democracy and Comprehensive Development (Mouvement congolais pour la demokratie et le développement Intégral, MCDDI), was the largest opposition party. MCDDI later affiliated with PCT and joined the government for a time, but broke with PCT in connection with Sassou-Nguesso’s 2015 constitutional amendment to allow him to be re-elected a third time.
In connection with the constitutional rally, two new opposition alliances were formed: the Democratic Initiative in Congo (Initiative pour la demokratie au Congo, IDC) and the Republican Front for respect for the constitutional order and democratic change 2016 (le Front republican pour le respect de l’ordre constitutionnel et l’alternance démocratique 2016, Frocad).
Spring 2017 forms Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas, which ran as independent presidential candidate 2016 a new party, Faculty Democrat Union (Union des Democrates human ice tea, UDH -Yuki)
The judiciary and human rights
The judiciary has weakened since President Sassou-Nguesso’s takeover of power. The president appoints the judges to the highest courts, and the government exerts pressure on the courts.
Government opponents have been sentenced to harsh punishment, while impunity is common for those loyal to the regime. The judiciary is also hampered by inefficiency and a lack of trained lawyers and judges.
The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal are located in Brazzaville. These include local and regional courts around the country. The legislation is of French model, but traditional customary law applies in civil cases involving family, property and heritage.
During the civil war of 1997–2000, both faithful forces and rebel groups stood for serious violations of human rights. In 1999, general amnesty for abuse committed during the 1990s battles was issued.
Even today, human rights violations are ongoing. Journalists, human rights activists and trade union representatives are subjected to various forms of harassment, including arbitrary arrests. The police are charged with rape and torture and it is seldom that charges against the police are investigated. Especially many violations of human rights were reported in 2014 when the police, using violent methods, forced 180,000 refugees from Congo-Kinshasa back across the border to their homeland. Congolese soldiers have also been accused of committing human rights violations while on peacekeeping missions in another neighboring country, the Central African Republic.
A Commission on Human Rights (Commission national de droits de l’homme, CNDH) was formed in 2005, but it has not been able to influence the situation for the better.