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.
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
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.