President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ( _fr. Président de la République démocratique du Congo, _sw. Rais wa Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo, _ln. Mokonzi wa Republíki ya Kongó Demokratíki) , is Congo's elected Head of State, and the "ex officio" "Supreme Commander" (Commander-in-Chief) of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).

The position of President in the DRC has existed since the first constitution - known as The Fundamental Law - of 1960. However the powers of this position have varied over the years, from a limited shared role in the executive branch, with a prime minister, to a full-blown dictatorship. Under the current constitution, the President exists as the highest institution in a semi-presidential Republic.

The current President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Joseph Kabila.

Latest election

Presidential powers

The semi-presidential system established by the constitution is largely borrowed from the French constitution. Although it is the prime minister and parliament that oversee much of the nation's actual lawmaking, the president wields significant influence, both formally and from constitutional convention. The president holds the nation's most senior office, and outranks all other politicians.

Perhaps the president's greatest power is his or her ability to choose the prime minister. However, since only the National Assembly has the power to dismiss the Prime Minister's gouvernement, the president is forced to name a prime minister that commands the support of the majority of this assembly.
*When the majority of the Assembly has opposite political views to that of the president, this leads to political cohabitation. In that case, the president's power is diminished, since much of the de facto power relies on a supportive prime minister and National Assembly, and is not directly attributed to the post of president. Still, the constitutional convention is that the president directs foreign policy, though he must work on that matter with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
*When the majority of the Assembly sides with him, the President can take a more active role and may, in effect, direct government policy. The prime minister is then often a mere "fuse" — and can be replaced if the administration becomes unpopular.

Among the formal powers of the president:
*The president promulgates laws.
*The president has a very limited form of suspensive veto: when presented with a law, he or she can request another reading of it by Parliament, but only once per law.
*The president may also refer the law for review to the Constitutional Council prior to promulgation.
*The president may refer laws to popular referendum, within certain conditions.
*The president names certain high officials (with the assent of the cabinet).
*The president names certain members of the Constitutional Council.
*The president receives foreign ambassadors.
*The president may grant a pardon (but not an amnesty) to convicted criminals; the president can also lessen or suppress criminal sentences. This was of crucial importance when France still operated the death penalty: criminals sentenced to death would generally request that the president commute their sentence to life imprisonment.
*The President is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and thus heads the High Council on Defence.


Under the 2006 constitution, the President of Democratic Republic of the Congo is directly elected to a five-year term - renewable only once - by universal suffrage. The first President to have been elected under these provisions is Joseph Kabila, in the 2006 elections.

In the DRC, the president is elected by a Two-round system of voting, which ensures the elected President always obtains a majority of the vote. If none of the candidates manage to receive the majority of the votes then the top two candidates in the election arrive at a run off. This allows smaller parties to have a greater impact on the outcome of elections, thus guaranteeing a multi-party system, as opposed to a two-party system.

After the president is elected, he goes through a solemn investiture ceremony. []


Article 72 of the Congolese constitution states that the President must be a natural born citizen - or more accurately: _fr. citoyen d'origine - of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and at least 30 years of age. Additionally, the President must be free of any legal constraints on their civil and political rights.

Article 10 of the same constitution defines "citoyen d'origine" as : "anyone belonging to the ethnic groups whose persons and territory constituted what became the Congo (currently the Democratic Republic of the Congo), at independence".


Articles 75 and 76 of the constitution state that upon the death or resignation of the President, the vacancy of the position is declared by the Constitutional court. The President of the Senate then becomes interim president.

The Independent Electoral Commission has to organize elections between sixty (60) and eighty (90) days after the official declaration of vacancy by the Constitutional court.

Other information

The official office of the president is the "Palais de la Nation" (Palace of the Nation) in Kinshasa.

The official residence of the president is the "Camp Tshatshi Palace" in Kinshasa, although it has not been used since it was looted in 1997. Other presidential residences include:
* the "Palais de Marbre"; it houses foreign official guests;
* the "Domaine de la Rwindi" in Goma, Nord-Kivu;

ee also

Historical Leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

**Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
**Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (List)
**Heads of Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (List)
**Colonial Heads of Congo
***Rulers of Katanga
***Rulers of Kuba
***Rulers of Luba
***Rulers of Ruund (Luunda)
***Rulers of Kasongo Luunda (Yaka)
***Rulers of Kongo

External links

* [ Official website of the President of the DRC]

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