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  Politics of Gabon takes place in a framework of a republic whereby the President of Gabon is head of state and the prime minister is the chief of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament. Since independence the party system is dominated by the conservative Gabonese Democratic Party. Image:Omar Bongo President Omar Bongo OndimbaIn 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. Political developments Under the 1961 Constitution of (revised in 1975 and rewritten in 1991), Gabon became a republic with a President of form of government. The National Assembly of Gabon has 120 deputies elected for a five-year term. The president is elected by universal suffrage for a seven-year term. The president appoints the Prime Minister of Gabon|prime minister, the Cabinet and judges of the independent Supreme Court. The government in 1990 made major changes in the political system. A transitional constitution was drafted in May as an outgrowth of a national political conference in March-April and later revised by a constitutional committee. Among its provisions were a Western world#Western bill of rights; creation of a National Council of Democracy, which oversees the guarantee of those rights; a governmental advisory board on economic and social issues; and an independent judiciary. After approval by the National Assembly, the PDG Central Committee, and the president, the Assembly unanimously adopted the constitution in March 1991. Multi-party legislative elections were held in 1990-91 although opposition parties had not been declared formally legal. After a peaceful transition, the elections produced the first Multi-party National Assembly. In January 1991, the Assembly passed by unanimous vote a law governing the legalization of opposition parties. The president was re-elected in a disputed election in 1993 with 51% of votes cast. Social and political disturbances led to the 1994 Paris Conference and Accords, which provided a framework for the next elections. Local and legislative elections were delayed until 1996-1997. In 1997, constitutional amendments were adopted to create an appointed Senate of Gabon|Senate, the position of Vice President of Gabon|Vice President, and to extend the president's term to seven years. Facing a divided opposition, President Omar Bongo was re-elected in December 1998, with 66% of the votes cast. Although the main opposition parties claimed the elections had been manipulated, there was none of the Civil disturbance that followed the 1993 election. The president retains strong powers, such as authority to dissolve the National Assembly, declare a state of siege, delay legislation, conduct referendums, and appoint and dismiss the prime minister and cabinet members. For administrative purposes, Gabon is divided into nine provinces, which are further divided into 36 prefectures and eight separate The president appoints the provincial governors, the prefects, and the subprefects. Political conditions At the time of History of Gabon|Gabon's independence in 1960, two principal political parties existed: the Bloc Democratique Gabonais (BDG), led by Leon M'Ba, and the Union Democratique et Sociale Gabonaise (UDSG), led by Jean-Hilaire Aubame. In the first election, held under a parliamentary system, neither party was able to win a majority. The BDG obtained support from three of the four independent legislative deputies, and M'Ba was named prime minister. Soon after concluding that Gabon had an insufficient number of people for a two-party system, the two party leaders agreed on a single list of candidates. In the February 1961 election, held under the new presidential system, M'Ba became president and Aubame foreign minister. This coalition appeared to work until February 1963, when the larger BDG forced the UDSG members to choose between a merger of the parties or resignation. The UDSG cabinet ministers resigned, and M'Ba called an election for February 1964 and a reduced number of National Assembly deputies (from 67 to 47). The UDSG failed to muster a list of candidates able to meet the requirements of the electoral decrees. When the BDG appeared likely to win the election by default, the Military of Gabon|Gabonese military toppled M'Ba in a bloodless coup on February 18, 1964. Military of France|French troops re-established his government the next day. Elections were held in April with many opposition participants. BDG-supported candidates won 31 seats and the opposition 16. Late in 1966, the constitution was revised to provide