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Congo, Democratic Republic of the Government 1999

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
    conventional short form: none
    local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo
    local short form: none
    former: Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
    abbreviation: DROC

    Data code: CG

    Government type: dictatorship; presumably undergoing a transition to representative

    Capital: Kinshasa

    Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (provinces, singular—province) and one city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Orientale, Sud-Kivu

    Independence: 30 June 1960 (from Belgium)

    National holiday: anniversary of independence from Belgium, 30 June (1960)

    Constitution: 24 June 1967, amended August 1974, revised 15 February 1978, amended April 1990; transitional constitution promulgated in April 1994; following successful rebellion the new government announced on 29 May 1997 a program of constitutional reform and, in November 1998, a draft constitution was approved by President KABILA and awaits ratification by national referendum

    Legal system: based on Belgian civil law system and tribal law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: Laurent Desire KABILA (since 17 May 1997); note—the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: Laurent Desire KABILA (since 17 May 1997); note—the president is both chief of state and head of government
    cabinet: National Executive Council, appointed by the president
    elections: before Laurent Desire KABILA seized power, the president was elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 29 July 1984 (next was to be held in May 1997); formerly, the prime minister was elected by the High Council of the Republic; note—the term of the former government expired in 1991, elections were not held, and former president MOBUTU continued in office until his government was militarily defeated by KABILA on 17 May 1997
    election results: MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga reelected president in 1984 without opposition
    note: Marshal MOBUTU Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga was president from 24 November 1965 until forced into exile on 16 May 1997 when his government was overturned militarily by Laurent Desire KABILA, who immediately assumed governing authority; in his 29 May 1997 inaugural address, President KABILA announced a two-year time table for political reform leading to elections by April 1999; subsequently, in December 1998, President KABILA announced that elections would be postponed until all foreign military forces attempting his overthrow had withdrawn from the country

    Legislative branch: legislative activity has been suspended pending the establishment of KABILA's promised constitutional reforms and the elections to be held by April 1999 (now postponed indefinitely)
    elections: the country's first multi-party presidential and legislative elections had been scheduled for May 1997 but were not held; instead KABILA overthrew the MOBUTU government and seized control of the country

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

    Political parties and leaders: sole legal party until January 1991—Popular Movement of the Revolution or MPR [leader NA]; note—may be replaced by Union for the Republic or UPR [leader NA]; other parties include Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa Mulumba]; Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Ernest WAMBA dia Wamba]; Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC [Andre BO-BOLIKO]; Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans or UFERI [Gabriel KYUNGU wa Kumwunzu]; Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]
    note: President KABILA, who has banned political party activity indefinitely, currently leads the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire or AFDL

    International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Faida MITIFU
    chancery: 1800 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690, 7691
    FAX: [1] (202) 236-0748

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador William Lacy SWING
    embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
    mailing address: Unit 31550, APO AE 09828
    telephone: [243] (12) 21028, 21959
    FAX: [243] (88) 43805 43467

    Flag description: light blue with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center and a columnar arrangement of six small yellow five-pointed stars along the hoist side

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)