The French established colonial rule over the region in 1886. In 1910, the colony became part of the federation of French Equatorial Africa. Gabon became an independent nation in 1960 and established its first Constitution the following year.
Gabon has a highly centralized political system with two main institutions, the presidency and the official political party, Parti Democratique Gabonais (PDG or Gabonese Democratic Party). The PDG was created in May 1968 after President Bongo dissolved all other political parties. The president of the republic is also the secretary general (and as such the top official) of the PDG. In 1975, the Constitution was revised, and the office of prime minister was created. In 1981, a second revision made the prime minister head of government and responsible to the president, the Central Committee of the PDG, and the legislature (National Assembly). The latter consists of 84 members elected by the people and 9 nominated by President Bongo. The president of the republic is elected by universal direct suffrage for a seven-year term. Were the president temporarily unable to perform his duties, his function would be taken over by a college comprising of the prime minister, the president of the National Assembly, a member of the Political Bureau of the PDG, and a member of the government.