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Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Introduction | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Communication | Transportation | Military

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Government

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 government

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 scheduled 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: results of the last election before the coup were: 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 overthrown 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 [Catherine NZUZI]; other parties include Democratic Social Christian Party or PDSC [Andre BO-BOLIKO]; Unified Lumumbast Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa Mulumba]; Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans or UFERI [Maitre LUKAMBA Michel]
note: President KABILA, who lifted an 18-month ban on political party activity in January 1999, dissolved his Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire or AFDL just before his government's self-imposed two-year mandate expired; he then created People's Power Committees

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), ISO (subscriber), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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) 237-0748

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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