The constitution of the country defines the republic as a presidential republic where the president acts as the head of state and government. Equatorial Guinea gained independence from the Spanish in 1968 establishing itself as a republic under the country’s president. The first government established a dictatorial rule with the president consolidating power, abolishing multiparty democracy, and cutting diplomatic links with western countries. The government received criticisms for abuse of human rights and suppression of the opposition. A coup in 1979 led to the formation of the second government. Despite the 1982 constitution having established the republic as a democracy, the politics of Equatorial Guinea are still mostly despotic and offers the citizens a limited ability to change the government.
The Executive Branch Of The Government Of Equatorial Guinea
The president is elected for a seven-year term by popular vote. The president appoints the executive members. He is the most influential member of the executive with the power to appoint and dismiss members of the cabinet, dissolve the legislature, and call for legislative elections. The prime minister operates under powers assigned by the president. The current president in Equatorial Guinea is Teodoro Obiang who has served as president since 1979 making him the longest serving dictator in Africa.
The Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Equatorial Guinea
The legislature of Equatorial Guinea consists of the Chamber of People’s Representatives and the Senate. The Chamber of People’s Representatives is the lower house of parliament composed of 100 members who are elected through a proportional system for five-year terms. The chamber is currently made of one party, and therefore there is no opposition to executive decisions. The Senate, a 55-member body, was introduced in the 2011 constitutional amendment with the first senatorial elections in 2013. Senators serve for five-year terms.
The Judicial Branch Of The Government Of Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is based on a mixed legal system that combines aspects of civil and customary laws. The judicial system consists of many courts with the Supreme Court as the highest. Within the Supreme Court are civil, commercial, administrative, labor, and customary court chambers. Other courts in the judicial system include the constitutional court, the court of guarantees, the appeal courts, military courts, and district and county tribunals. The president appoints Supreme Court and constitutional court judges for five and two-year terms respectively. The judiciary of the Republic is criticized for its disorganization and lack of professionalism in the conduct of judicial matters.
Elections In Equatorial New Guinea
Elections in Equatorial Guinea are held at different levels to elect the president and members of the chambers of deputies. Presidential elections are held every seven years and every five years for parliamentary elections. The electoral system of the country faces criticisms from international observers as most fail to meet the standards of free and fair elections. All citizens above eighteen are granted voting rights. While the country is a multiparty democracy, the ruling party always takes the majority of the seats (up to 99%) in parliamentary elections.
Human Rights In New Guinea
While the constitution provides for the protection of human rights in the country, there exist instances of abuses such as intolerance for the opposition, torture, kidnappings, unlawful murders, unwarranted arrests, and harassment of foreigners. The government also suppresses the freedom of press, association, movement, and speech. The presence of a corrupt judicial system worsens the human rights situation as the victims have no legal channel through which to address their grievances.