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In September 1968, Francisco Macias Nguema was elected the first president of Equatorial Guinea and independence followed in October 1968. In July 1970, Macias created a single-party state and by May 1971, and in 1972 Macias took complete control of the government and assumed the title of President-for-Life.
In August 1979, Macias' nephew Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, led a successful coup d’état; Macias was arrested, tried, and executed. Mr. Obiang assumed the Presidency in October 1979. Obiang initially ruled Equatorial Guinea with the assistance of a Supreme Military Council. A new constitution, drafted in 1982 with the help of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, came into effect after a popular vote on August 15, 1982. The Council was then abolished and Mr. Obiang remained in the presidency for a 7-year term. He was re-elected in 1989 and in February 1996. Subsequently, Mr. Obiang named a new cabinet, which included some opposition figures in minor portfolios. The opposition had few electoral successes in the 1990s. By early 2000, President Obiang’s PDGE (Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea) party dominated government at all levels. In December 2002, President Obiang won a new seven-year mandate with 97% of the vote.
With few avenues open for any democratic opposition, the president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and his allies will continue to dominate the political scene. The major threat to political stability is the risk of the president leaving office suddenly, owing to ill health or a coup, which could create a destabilising power contest. On the back of declining oil production and falling public investment levels, we expect real GDP to contract in 2016-20.