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Politics of Gabon
Politics of Gabon takes place in a framework of a republic whereby the President of Gabon is head of state and in effect, also the head of government, since he appoints the prime minister and his cabinet. The government is divided into three branches: the Executive (headed by the prime minister (although previously grabbed by the president), the legislative that is formed by the two chambers of parliament. The judicial branch, like other two branches, is technically independent and equal to other three branches, although in practice, since its judges are appointed by the president, it is beholden to the same president. Since independence the party system is dominated by the conservative Gabonese Democratic Party.
In March 1991 a new constitution was adopted. Among its provisions are a Western-style bill of rights, the creation of the National Council of Democracy that also oversees the guarantee of those rights and a governmental advisory board which deals with economic and social issues. Multi-party legislative elections were held in 1990-91 even though opposition parties had not been declared formally legal.
Since its independence from France in 1960, Gabon has had three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions. Gabon was also a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2010–2011 term.
Low population density, abundant petroleum, and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 4th highest HDI and the third highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Equatorial Guinea and Botswana) in the region. GDP grew by more than 6% per year from 2010 to 2012. However, because of inequality in income distribution, a significant proportion of the population remains poor.