The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, has a multiparty political system. The current constitution establishes its semi-presidential system, having both a president and a prime minister together at the executive helm. The president of Congo-Brazzaville is elected by popular vote and is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Congo army. The president appoints the prime minister and also has the powers to dismiss him or her. Other appointments made by the presidents include ambassadors, the general chief of staff, judge, and heads of public service. The president also safeguards the constitution and guarantees the territorial integrity of the nation. The head of the government in the Republic of the Congo is found in its capital city of Brazzaville. The Presidents of the Republic of the Congo are looked at below.
Fulbert Youlou, born in 1917, was variously a Roman Catholic priest, a politician, and a nationalist leader. He became the first president of the independent Congo-Brazzaville on August 15, 1960. He was a controversial figure in the country to the point that he was subjected to anathema in his country. Youlou led his country to independence in August 1960 and later organized an intercontinental conference in Brazzaville where he praised economic liberalism and condemned communism. After taking power, he adopted moderate policies that aimed at attracting investments into the country registering 38 million CFA franc of investment between 1960 and 1963. Youlou’s administration was characterized by corruption with the government appointments made by regional origin rather than competence. He imposed a single-party system and imprisoned the union leaders in 1963 leading to the revolution of the “Trois Glorieuses.” Youlou was completely isolated leading to his resignation on August 15, 1963.
Alphonse Massamba-Débat was born in 1921 in Nkolo, French Equatorial Africa. He succeeded Youlou as president of the country in 1963, and led the nation until 1968. He was first declared the prime minister after the deposition of Youlou in 1963 with his party, National Council of Revolution, made the only political party in the country. Massamba-Débat was subsequently elected president on December 19, 1963. He aligned the country with the USSR and Communist China and attempted to undertake political-economic strategy. He also formed a militia unit in 1966 to assist the Cuban army. Massamba-Débat was overthrown on September 4, 1968, forcing him to leave politics. Massamba-Débat was executed in 1975 under unclear circumstance.
Marien Ngouabi, born in 1938, was a president of the Republic of the Congo. He led Congo-Brazzaville from January 1, 1969 until March 18, 1977. He joined the military at the age of 20 years where he served as Cameroun and later as a lieutenant. In 1968, he created the National Revolutionary Council which curtailed the powers of President Massamba-Debat leading to his resignation on September 4, 1968. Ngouabi became president after his party, NRC, had become a national authority on January 1, 1969. Upon becoming president, Ngouabi transformed the country’s name to the People’s Republic of Congo. He was re-elected president of Congo-Brazzaville in 1975, but he was assassinated on March 18, 1977, with the former president, Massamba-Debat, being executed for Ngouabi’s assassination.
Denis Sassou Nguesso
Denis Sassou Nguesso, the incumbent president who has been in power since 1997, was also previously president once before between 1979 and 1992. He introduced the multiparty system in 1990. In 1991, he was stripped of his executive powers and lost the 1992 presidential elections. He returned to power in 1997 after the civil war which led to the ousting of President Pascal Lissouba.