The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is located in the equatorial region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The country contains huge amounts of gold, diamonds, and coltan, as well as almost half of Africa’s forests, but has been unable to achieve economic prosperity because of ongoing conflict.
Democracy in Congo: (Click here for the latest news)
- Population (July 2006): 62,660,551
- Literacy: 65.6 % (total population)
- Government Type: Transitional Government
- Suffrage: Universal and compulsory (18 years of age)
- Executive Branch: President Joseph Kabila (Chief of State/Head of Government), Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa (Prime Minister)
- Legislative Branch: Bi-Cameral
National Assembly: (500 seats)
Senate: (120 seats)
- Electoral System:
Executive: The president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term (eligible for a second term)
National Assembly 60 elected by majority vote and 440 by open list proportional representation; members serve 5-year terms
Senate: Members elected by indirect vote to serve 5-year terms
- Political Parties:
Democratic Social Christian Party (PDSC)
Forces for Renovation for Union and Solidarity ( FONUS)
National Congolese Lumumbist Movement (MNC)
Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR)
Unified Lumumbast Party (PALU)
Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS)
Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans (UFERI)
Information Provided By : CIA World Fact Book
Summary & Updates:
Though DR Congo has experienced conflict since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960, violence erupted in 1998 when rebel factions backed by Rwanda and Uganda began an insurrection. The fighting – sometimes called “Africa’s First World War” – involved six African countries and has resulted in more than four million people dead.
A peace accord was signed in 2003, which created a transitional government where power is shared between the two largest rebel factions, the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) and the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC). The threat of war still exists, however, as many areas of the country, especially the eastern regions, are still plagued by militia violence. The UN’s largest peacekeeping mission of more than 15,000 peacekeepers is stationed in DR Congo in an attempt to maintain peace.
Presidential and parliamentary elections have been scheduled for July 30, 2006, the first democratic elections held in forty-five years. More than 25 million registered Congolese voters will vote at 53,000 polling stations. There are thirty-three candidates for president, and more than 9,700 candidates for 500 parliament seats. Official election results will be announced on September 14; if no presidential candidate wins more than 50% of the votes, a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held on October 15.
- 1960 – Congo becomes independent from Belgium. A month later, the Congolese army mutanies.
- 1965 – Joseph Mobutu leads a coup and takes over the country.
- 1971 – Mobutu renames the country Zaire, gives himself the name Mobutu Sese Seko.
- 1990 – Mobutu agrees to end ban on multiparty politics and appoints a transitional government, but retains a significant amount of power.
- 1991 – Mobutu agrees to a coalition government, but retains control of security forces and important ministries.
- 1993 – Pro- and anti-Mobutu governments are created.
- 1996-97 – Tutsi rebels capture much of eastern Zaire when Mobutu is out of the country for medical treatment.
- 1997 – Rebels capture the capital, rename the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and install a new president.
- 1998 – Rebels take control of much of the east of DR Congo.
- 1999 – Rifts begin to form between different rebel factions. A ceasefire accord is signed by the six African countries involved in the conflict, as well as the two major rebel groups.
- 2000 – A UN force is authorized to monitor the ceasefire.
- 2001 – The president is assassinated; he is succeeded by his son.
- 2002 – Peace talks are held in South Africa, but a power-sharing deal is initially rejected by Rwandan-backed rebels. The DR Congo signs separate peace accords with Rwanda and Uganda. A peace deal between Congolese rebel forces is signed in December.
- 2003 – A transitional government and an interim parliament are sworn in.
- 2004 – Rebel guards attempt a coup, but it fails. Fighting breaks out in the east between the Congolese army and renegade soldiers.
- 2005 – A new constitution is adopted by parliament, and later voted for by the people. Former Zairean army soilders return to the country after eight years in exile.
- 2006 – The UN and EU deploy more troops to DR Congo in an effort to create stability in the country in time for the July elections.
- 2006 - Second round of presidential elections peaceful, winner to be announced in November
- 2006 – Incumbent President Joseph Kabila was declared the winner of the presidential elections making him the first elected President of the Congo in four decades
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