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Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency .


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Conventional short form DRC
Local long form
Republique Democratique du Congo
Local short form RDC
Former
Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
Abbreviation DRC

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Kinshasa
Geographic coordinates 4 19 S, 15 18 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
10 provinces (provinces, singular - province) and 1 city* (ville); Bandundu, Bas-Congo (Lower Congo), Equateur, Kasai-Occidental (West Kasai), Kasai-Oriental (East Kasai), Katanga, Kinshasa*, Maniema, Nord-Kivu (North Kivu), Orientale, Sud-Kivu (South Kivu)
Note
According to the Constitution adopted in December 2005, the current administrative divisions were to be subdivided into 26 new provinces by 2009 but this has yet to be implemented

Independence
30 June 1960 (from Belgium)

Constitution
18 February 2006

Legal system
Civil legal system based on Belgian version of French civil law

International law organization participation
Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001)
Head of government
Prime Minister Augustin Matata PONYO Mapon (since 18 April 2012)
Cabinet
Ministers of State appointed by the president
Elections
Under the new constitution the president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held on November 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results
Joseph KABILA reelected president; percent of vote - Joseph KABILA 49%, Etienne TSHISEKEDI 32.3%, other 18.7%; note - election marred by serious voting irregularities
Note
Joseph KABILA succeeded his father, Laurent Desire KABILA, following the latter's assassination in January 2001; negotiations with rebel leaders led to the establishment of a transitional government in July 2003 with free elections held on 30 July 2006 and a run-off on 29 October 2006 confirming Joseph KABILA as president

Legislative branch
Bicameral legislature consists of a Senate (108 seats; members elected by provincial assemblies to serve five-year terms) and a National Assembly (500 seats; 61 members elected by majority vote in single-member constituencies, 439 members elected by open list proportional-representation in multi-member constituencies to serve five-year terms)
Elections
Senate - last held on 19 January 2007 (next to be held on 5 June 2013); National Assembly - last held on 28 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
Election results
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 22, MLC 14, FR 7, RCD 7, PDC 6, CDC 3, MSR 3, PALU 2, independents 26, others 18 (political parties that won a single seat); National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 62, UDPS 41, PPPD 29, MSR 27, MLC 22, PALU 19, UNC 17, ARC 16, AFDC 15, ECT 11, RRC 11, independents 16, others 214 (includes numerous political parties that won 10 or fewer seats and 2 constituencies where voting was halted); note - the November 2011 elections were married by violence including the destruction of ballots in two constituencies resulting in the closure of polling sites; election results were delayed three months, stongly contested, and continue to be unresolved

Judicial branch
Constitutional Court; Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation; Council of State; High Military Court; plus civil and military courts and tribunals

Political parties and leaders
Christian Democrat Party or PDC [Jose ENDUNDO]; Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Azarias RUBERWA]; Convention of Christian Democrats or CDC; Forces of Renewal or FR [Mbusa NYAMWISI]; Movement for the Liberation of the Congo or MLC [Jean-Pierre BEMBA]; People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy or PPRD [Joseph KABILA]; Social Movement for Renewal or MSR [Pierre LUMBI]; Unified Lumumbist Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]; Union for the Congolese Nation or UNC [Vital KAMERHE]; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Etienne TSHISEKEDI]; Union of Mobutuist Democrats or UDEMO [MOBUTU Nzanga]

Political pressure groups and leaders
FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) - Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which commits atrocities on citizens; FDLR (Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda) - Rwandan militia group made up of some of the perpetrators of Rwanda's Genocide in 1994; CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) - mainly Congolese Tutsis who want refugees returned and more representation in government

International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, COMESA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Faida MITIFU
Chancery
Suite 601, 1726 M Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036
Telephone
[1] (202) 234-7690 through 7691
FAX [1] (202) 234-2609

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador James F. ENTWISTLE
Embassy
310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa
Mailing address Unit 31550, APO AE 09828
Telephone [243] (81) 225-5872
FAX [243] (81) 301-0561

Flag description
Sky blue field divided diagonally from the lower hoist corner to upper fly corner by a red stripe bordered by two narrow yellow stripes; a yellow, five-pointed star appears in the upper hoist corner; blue represents peace and hope, red the blood of the country's martyrs, and yellow the country's wealth and prosperity; the star symbolizes unity and the brilliant future for the country

National symbol(s)
Leopard

National anthem
Name
"Debout Congolaise" (Arise Congolese)
Lyrics/music
Joseph LUTUMBA/Simon-Pierre BOKA di Mpasi Londi
Note
Adopted 1960; the anthem was replaced during the period in which the country was known as Zaire, but was readopted in 1997


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  Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Kinshasa):


  GPS points from Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Kinshasa)

Gumba-gumba Province De Bandundu

Mpelemuna Province De Bandundu

Kabinda Province Du Kasai-oriental

Tunda Province Du Maniema

Bilikono Province De L' Equateur

Kalibonda Democratic Republic Of The Congo (general)

Djadi Province Du Kasai-oriental

Bumbwa Province De L' Equateur




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