Popular Movement of the Revolution

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Popular Movement of the Revolution
Mouvement populaire de la Révolution
President Mobutu Sese Seko
Founded May 20, 1967 (1967-05-20)
Dissolved May 16, 1997 (1997-05-16)
Succeeded by Union of Mobutuist Democrats
(not legal successor)
Headquarters Kinshasa, Zaire
Newspaper L'Avenir
Ideology Zairian nationalism
African nationalism
Cultural conservatism
Political position Syncretic (self-described)
Right-wing to Far-right (de facto)
International affiliation None
Colours      Green
Party flag
Flag of Zaire.svg
Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg
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The Popular Movement of the Revolution (French: Mouvement Populaire de la Révolution, or MPR) was the ruling political party in Zaire which, for most of its existence, was the sole permitted faction in Zaire's one-party state. Founded by Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, the MPR established on 20 May 1967.


The official ideology of the MPR, as laid down in the Manifesto of N'sele in May 1967, incorporated "nationalism", "revolution", and "authenticity". Revolution was described as a "truly national revolution, essentially pragmatic," which called for "the repudiation of both capitalism and communism."[1] One of the MPR's slogans was "Neither left nor right," to which would be added "nor even centre" in later years.[1] Despite this, there is evidence of economic liberalization during Mobutu's rule as he appointed Kengo Wa Dondo, a prominent advocate of free-market reform, as prime minister.

One-party system[edit]

From its formation in 1967 to 1990, the MPR was de facto the only legal party in the country. The 1967 constitution explicitly allowed the existence of two parties.[2] However, the MPR was the only party allowed to nominate candidates in the November 1970 elections. A month later, on December 23, the constitution was amended to formally declare the MPR to be the only legally permitted party.[3][4]

The 1974 constitution enshrined the MPR's status as the vanguard of the nation. It stated that "there exists a single institution, the MPR, incarnated by its President," that the "President of the MPR is ex officio President of the Republic, and holds the plenitude of power exercise," and that "Mobutism" was constitutional doctrine. All citizens of Zaire became members of the MPR at birth.[5] In effect, the government was a transmission belt for the MPR.

The MPR elected its president every seven years at its national convention. At that time, he was automatically nominated as the sole candidate for a seven-year term as President of Zaire; he was confirmed in office by a national referendum. Every five years, a single list of MPR candidates was returned to the legislature. This system effectively gave Mobutu complete political control over the country.

Multi-party period[edit]

The single-party system lasted until 24 April 1990, the date of the proclamation of the Third Republic. On that date, Mobutu said that three political parties would be allowed. The "moderate" and "hardline" factions of the MPR would form separate parties, with the third party being the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).[6] Under the new multiparty system, Mobutu said that he would be above political parties, and accordingly he resigned as the head of the MPR on the same date, although he again accepted the post of party president a year later, on 21 April 1991.[7]

The party had no real ideology other than support for Mobutu. As such, it disappeared in short order when Mobutu was overthrown by Laurent Kabila in 1997. Nzanga Mobutu, the son of Mobutu Sese Seko, is the chairman of the Union of Mobutist Democrats (UDEMO), a Mobutist political party in parliament.

MPR party badge, c. 1990

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential Elections[edit]

Election date Party candidate Number of votes received Percentage of votes
1970 Joseph-Désiré Mobutu 10,131,669 100%
1977 Mobutu Sese Seko 10,693,804 98.2%
1984 Mobutu Sese Seko 14,885,997 99.1%

Parliamentary Elections[edit]

Election date Party leader Number of votes received Percentage of votes Number of seats
1970 Joseph-Désiré Mobutu 9,691,132 99%
200 / 200
1975 Mobutu Sese Seko Approved by acclaim[8]
240 / 240
1977 Mobutu Sese Seko 10,180,685 100%
252 / 252
1982 Mobutu Sese Seko Not released Not released
310 / 310
1987 Mobutu Sese Seko Not released Not released
210 / 210


  1. ^ a b Crawford Young and Thomas Turner, The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State, p. 210
  2. ^ http://mjp.univ-perp.fr/constit/cd1967.htm
  3. ^ Kaplan, Irving (ed.). Zaire: A Country Study. Third Edition, First Printing. 1979.
  4. ^ Law 70-001 of December 23, 1970 amended the text of article 4 of the constitution as follows: "The Popular Movement of the Revolution is the only political party in the Republic" (Le Mouvement populaire de la révolution est le seul parti politique de la République.).
  5. ^ Young and Turner, p. 70
  6. ^ Thomas Turner, "Flying High Above the Toads: Mobutu and Stalemated Democracy", in Political Reform in Francophone Africa (1997), ed. John F. Clark and David E. Gardinier, page 255.
  7. ^ Zaire: A Country Study POLITICAL REFORM IN THE 1990s - Proclamation of the Third Republic
  8. ^ Zaire Inter-Parliamentary Union