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Leaders of the Republic of Congo Since Independence

A list of Republic of Congo leaders since gaining independence on 15 August 1960

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

Congo-Brazzaville became an autonomous republic within the French community in November 1958 with Abbe Fulbert Youlou, for the Union Démocratique pour la Défense des Intérêts Africains (UDDIA, Democratic Union for the Defense of African Interests), as prime minister. The country gained independence on 15 August 1960, and Fulbert Youlou became its first president. On 15 August 1963 Youlou was forced to resign and an interim military council took power. Alphonse Massamba-Débat was installed as Chairman of the National Council of the Revolution the following day, quickly declaring a one-party state and taking the presidency for the (MNR, National Revolutionary Movement). Massamba-Débat was arrested by the army in 1968 and Major Marien Ngouabi took power, gaining the presidency for the Congolais du Travail (PCT, Congolese Workers' Party) in 1970. Ngouabi declared Congo to be a Marxist-Leninist state and renamed the country the People's Republic of Congo. He managed, despite cold war sentiments, to keep in good terms with France.

Marien Ngouabi was assassinated on 18 March 1977 and a committee of 11 military officers decided that Colonel Jacques-Joachim Yhombi-Opango (the senior officer of the committee) should become the next Head of State. The military government was abolished in 1979 and Colonel Denis Sassou-Nguesso took power, winning the presidential elections in August representing the sole legal party, the PCT. In 1990 Sassou-Nguesso renounced Marxism. The following year the country's name was restored to the Republic of Congo and opposition parties were legalized. Sassou-Nguesso remained president, but much of his power was transferred to the prime minister, André Milongo.

Free elections were held in 1992 and Pascal Lissouba, for the Union Panafricaine pour la Démocratie Sociale (UPADS, Pan-African Union for Social Development) became the country's first democratically elected president. However, Sassou-Nguesso kept a private militia and there was conflict on the streets between government forces and supporters of Sassou-Nguesso's opposition. Looking for a chance to regain power, Denis Sassou-Nguesso called on aid from Angola, and in October 1997, President Lissouba and Prime Minister Bernard Kolélas fled the country. Denis Sassou-Nguesso became acting Head of State, whilst militias loyal to Lissouba and Kolélas continued to fight. A peace deal was signed in 1999.

Denis Sassou-Nguesso won presidential elections in March 2002, but it was far from free or fair -- all his rivals were banned from taking part. The Ninja rebels continued to fight Sassou-Nguesso's forces until a peace deal was signed in 2003. Part of the deal was for the re-instatement of the post of Prime Minister, and Isidore Mvouba took the post (which he retained until it was once again abolished in September 2009). Parliamentary elections in 2007 were boycotted by opposition parties, allowing the ruling PCT to take 90% of seats. When Presidential elections were held in 2009, opposition parties once again held a boycott. Denis Sassou-Nguesso unsurprisingly won another seven year term of office.



President of the Republic of Congo
15 August 1960 -- 15 August 1963 Fulbert Youlou UDDIA

National Council of the Revolution
15 August 1963 -- 16 August 1963 David Moussaka
Félix Mouzabakani
Military

Chairman of the National Council of the Revolution
16 August 1963 -- 19 December 1963 Alphonse Massamba-Débat CNR

President of the Republic of Congo
19 December 1963 -- 4 September 1968 Alphonse Massamba-Débat MNR

Chairman of the National Council of the Revolution
4 September 1968 -- 5 September 1968 Marien Ngouabi Military

Acting Head of State
5 September 1968 -- 1 January 1969 Alfred Raoul Military

Acting Head of State
1 January 1969 -- 3 January 1970 Marien Ngouabi Military

President of the Republic of Congo
3 January 1970 -- 18 March 1977 Marien Ngouabi PCT

PCT Military Committee
18 March 1977 -- 3 April 1977 Colonel Jacques-Joachim Yhombi-Opango
Major Denis Sassou-Nguesso
Major Louis-Sylvain Goma
Major Jean-Michel Ebaka
Major Raymond-Damas Ngollo
Major Martin M'Bia
maj Pascal Bima
Captain François-Xavier Katali
Captain Florent Tsiba
Captain Nicolas Ockongo
Lieutenant Pierre Anga
Military

Head of State for the PCT Military Government
3 April 1977 -- 5 February 1979 Jacques-Joachim Yhombi-Opango PCT (Military)

Chairman of the interim Presidium of PCT Central Committee
5 February 1979 -- 8 February 1979 Jean-Pierre Thystère Tchicaya PCT

Head of State for the PCT
8 February 1979 -- 14 August 1979 Denis Sassou-Nguesso PCT

President of the Republic of Congo
14 August 1979 -- 31 August 1992 Denis Sassou-Nguesso PCT
31 August 1992 -- 15 October 1997 Pascal Lissouba UPADS

Acting Head of State
25 Oct 1997 -- 14 August 2002 Denis Sassou-Nguesso PCT

President of the Republic of Congo
14 August 2002 -- Present Day Denis Sassou-Nguesso PCT


Key to Political Parties
AND Alliance Nationale pour la Démocratie
(National Alliance for Democracy)
CNR Conseil National de la Révolution
(National Council of the Revolution)
MCDDI Mouvement Congolais pour la Démocratie et le Développement Intégral
(Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development)
MNR Mouvement National de la Révolution
(National Revolutionary Movement)
MSA Mouvement Socialiste Africain
(African Socialist Movement)
PCT Parti Congolais du Travail
(Congolese Workers' Party)
RDD Rassemblement pour la Démocratie et le Développement
(Rally for Democracy and Development)
RDPS Rassemblement pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social
(Rally for Democracy and Social Progress)
UDDIA Union Démocratique pour la Défense des Intérêts Africains
(Democratic Union for the Defense of African Interests)
UFD Forces Démocratiques Unies
(United Democratic Forces)
UPADS Union Pan-Africaine pour la Démocratie Sociale
(Pan-African Union for Social Development)

Timeline for the Republic of Congo
Part 1: From Prehistory to Membership of La Communauté (1946)
Part 2: From Membership of La Communauté (1946) to President Denis Sassou-Nguesso (14 August 1979)
Part 3: From President Denis Sassou-Nguesso (14 August 1979) to the 1999 Ceasefire
Part 4: From the 1999 Ceasefire to Present Day

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