Also: Kɔ́ngɔ; Kongo.
Officially: République du Congo.
Seat of government: Brazzaville.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: Autocracy under current president.
Governing party: Parti Congolais du Travail.
Head of Government: Denis Sassou Nguesso, president.
Opposition parties: Union Panafricaine pour la Démocratie Sociale; Mouvement Congolais pour la Démocratie et le Développement Intégral, led by Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas.
Recent history: The first post-colonial president, Fulbert Youlou (1960-3), was deposed in three days of unrest (“Les Trois Glorieuses”) over his plans for a one-party state, eventually replaced by Alphonse Massamba-Débat (1963-8) and an actual one-party state under the Mouvement National de la Révolution. Marien Ngouabi (1968-77) founded the current régime and ruling party after overthrowing Massamba-Débat. Ngouabi was assassinated in 1977; Massamba-Débat was among those executed for the act. Joachim Yhombi-Opango (1977-9) officially replaced Ngouabi, but was deposed by Sassou, a central figure in the Ngouabi régime. Sassou ruled unchecked until 1991, when a post-Cold War process of democratization began, and a transitional assembly replaced him as head of government with André Milongo (1991-2). Elections in 1992 produced a parliament with significant opposition representation; the PCT officially came in third, behind the UPADS and the MCDDI. Meanwhile, Pascal Lissouba (1992-7) of the UPADS defeated Bernard Kolélas (father of GBP) of MCDDI in a presidential runoff, with Sassou, Milongo, and Yhombi-Opango eliminated in the first round. The PCT had originally allied with UPADS, but was dissatisfied with Lissouba and switched its support to MCDDI, eventually forcing a national-unity government dominated by opponents of Lissouba. A new election called for 1993 was won by a pro-Lissouba coalition. Paramilitary activity associated with the parties, and especially with Lissouba, Sassou, and Kolélas, became common. In 1997 Sassou’s militia overthrew Lissouba after a civil war, and his dictatorship resumed. Kolélas’s militia, the Conseil National de la Résistance (“Ninjas”), operationally headed by Frédéric Bintsangou (Pasteur Ntumi), became a separate government in the Pool region surrounding Brazza, lasting through 2008. Elections nominally resumed in 2002, but in no case was Sassou’s rule threatened; Lissouba and Kolélas were blocked from participation in 2002 and Milongo withdrew before the vote. Further parliamentary elections were staged in 2007 and 2012, and Sassou arranged his own official reelection in 2009.
FH: 6-5, not free. Econ: 2.94 (143), authoritarian.
Updated: 2015 February 23.