June 8, 2009 / 4:29 PM / 11 years ago

TIMELINE: Gabon and Omar Bongo

(Reuters) - Africa’s longest serving president, Gabon’s Omar Bongo, has died after 41 years in power, the country’s prime minister said.

Here is a short chronology of events in Gabon since it achieved independence from France in August 1960.

Feb 1961 - Leon M’ba, leader of Bloc Democratique Gabonais (BDG), is elected president.

Feb 1964 - M’ba is kidnapped and deposed in an attempted military coup. Jean-Hilaire Aubame assumes control with the help of a Revolutionary Committee. Two days later, French paratroopers land in Gabon and crush the military coup.

April 1964 - In a rescheduled election, the BDG captures 31 of the 47 seats in the National Assembly.

Almost three years later, new elections give the BDG all 47 seats. M’ba is re-elected president and Albert Bernard Bongo vice-president.

Nov 1967 - Bongo becomes president and leader of the BDG on the death of M’ba.

March 1968 - Bongo decrees Gabon to be a one-party state and changes the BDG to the Parti Democratique Gabonais (PDG), or Gabon Democratic Party.

Oct 1973 - Bongo converts to Islam and assumes the first name of Omar.

May 1990 - Gabon officially embarks on the road to multi-party democracy, after Bongo gives in to opposition demands and ends 22 years of monopoly by his PDG.

— French troops evacuate foreigners after serious anti-government violence following the death of Gabonese Progress Party (PGP) Secretary General, Joseph Rendjambe. The government denied demonstrators’ allegations it was involved.

Dec 1993 - Bongo wins presidential election, the first held under the new multi-party constitution. Opposition denounces the vote as fraudulent. Bongo is re-elected in 1998.

July 2003 - Bongo secures a change in the law allowing him to seek re-election as many times as he wants.

Nov 2005 - Bongo wins another seven-year term as president in the November 27 election, winning 79.2 percent of the vote, comfortably ahead of his four challengers.

Dec 2006 - The PDG maintains its parliamentary majority, winning 93 seats in the 120-member National Assembly.

May 5, 2009 - French magistrate launches probe into whether Bongo and two other African heads of state used embezzled funds to buy luxury homes and cars.

May 7 - Bongo suspends his functions as head of state to mourn his wife.

May 21 - Bongo said to be seriously ill in Spanish clinic.

June 8 - Bongo’s death is announced.

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