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Gabon became independent from France on 17 August 1960. Léon M'ba became the first Gabonese head of state in 1961. He introduced a one-party state, which was continued by his successor El Hadj Bongo Ondimba (since 1967). Only members of the Parti Démocratique gabonais (PDG) could take part in elections.

President africa Bongo was re-elected in 1973, 1980, and 1986 - without any opposition - with 99% of the votes. In the early 1980s, opposition to the one-party system manifested itself in the formation of the Mouvement de Redressement National (Morena). After coup attempts and strikes, a new constitution was drafted in 1990, providing for multi-party elections. In early 1994, President Bongo admitted the opposition to the government. The opposition, united in the Haut Conseil de Résistance (HCR), reached an agreement with the PDG in the "Paris Accords", which provided for democratisation and the holding of parliamentary and local elections. In the first parliamentary elections in 1996, the PDG won an absolute majority and President Bongo's party again won a large majority in the parliamentary elections in December 2001.

In the presidential elections of December 1998 and November 2005, President Omar Bongo won 66.9% and 79.2% of the votes respectively. He is the longest-reigning head of state in Africa and thus the "doyen" of African presidents. In December 2006, his party also won the presidential elections. In June 2009, Omar Bongo died during treatment in a Spanish clinic. Ali Ben Bongo, son of the deceased president, won the September 2009 presidential election. In December 2011, Bongo's PDG won 95% of the parliamentary seats, with the opposition claiming fraud. In 2012, Gabon hosts the Africa Cup alongside Equatorial Guinea. In February 2013, French police search former President Omar Bongo's villa in Nice for incriminating material in connection with a corruption investigation. In 2015, the ban on the opposition party (UN) is lifted. In August 2016, presidential elections were held in which both incumbent President Ali Bongo and his challenger Jean Peng claimed victory. On 31 August, the electoral commission declared Bongo the winner. This leads to many protests in September 2016. In December 2016, parliamentary elections are postponed due to lack of funds. In February 2017, it is reported that Gabon has lost 80% of its elephant population in the last ten years.

In late 2018, Bongo is treated abroad for the effects of a stroke. In January 2019, a group of lower-ranking officers attempt a coup against President Bongo, shortly before he returns from medical treatment abroad. The coup is unsuccessful. In July 2020, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda is appointed Prime Minister.


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Last updated June 2024
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