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Since gaining independence in 1960, the country has been plagued by armed conflict. In 1993, a civilian government was established, headed by President Ange-FÃ©lix PatassÃ©. But in March 2003, PatassÃ©'s government was overthrown by a military coup led by General Francois Bozize, who established a transitional government. A new constitution, approved through a national vote, took effect in December 2004. Despite violating his pledge not to run, Bozize won the presidency in the 2005 election.
Significant government intervention in the economy hampers private sector development. The diamond mining industry is being developed, but many mineral and oil deposits remain unexplored. The unstable political climate doesn't help.