State and politics
Senegal's constitution was adopted in 2001. The executive
power is exercised by the president, whose term of office
under the Constitution is to be five years but which after
the 2007 elections was increased to seven years. In 2016, a
referendum was held in which a proposal for a return to five
years was approved. The rule has been applied since the 2019
elections. The president, who can be re-elected once,
appoints a prime minister and together they appoint the
government. In May 2019, Parliament voted to abolish the
Prime Minister's post.
The legislative power is exercised by a single-chamber
parliament, the National Assembly, whose members are elected
for five years. Prior to the 2017 election, the number of
seats was increased from 150 to 165. The 15 new members will
represent the approximately 500,000 Senegalese living
abroad. 105 of the seats are elected by majority vote in
each constituency and 60 by proportional elections from
national lists. A second chamber, the Senate, was
reintroduced in 2007 but was abolished again in 2012. The
voting age is 18 years.
Senegal is a relatively well-functioning and stable
democracy. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of SG and its meanings of Senegal. The country's political life after independence
was dominated by Léopold Sédar Senghor, president 1960-80.
From 1966-74, his Union progressiste sénégalaise (UPS)
was the only permitted party, after which a maximum of three
parties were allowed for a few years. Senghor withdrew from
politics in December 1980, and in 1981 Abdou Diouf (Prime
Minister 1970-80) was elected President. Shortly after
Diouf's takeover of power, all obstacles to party formation
were eliminated. Although there have been a large number of
parties since then, two have dominated: Diouf's party
Party Socialist du Sénégal (PS, formerly UPS) and the
liberal Party Democratique Sénégalais (PDS), led
Wade broke PS's monopoly of power when he defeated Diouf
in the 2000 presidential election; Wade was re-elected in
2007 with 56 percent of the vote. The Sopi-dominated
Alliance Alliance, dominated by PDS, took clear victories in
the 2001 and 2007 elections.
The 2012 presidential election was preceded by
controversy when 85-year-old Wade declared that he intended
to run for a third term, even though the Constitution does
not allow it. Wade argued that the rule did not apply to him
because it was created after his entry and the candidacy was
approved by the county constitutional court. However,
popular musician Youssou N'Dour was not allowed to perform.
In the first round of elections, Wade received the strongest
support with 35 percent of the vote, which, however, was not
enough to avoid a second round of elections. In this, Wade
received an almost equal share of the votes, but the
opposition snapped up against the counter-candidate Macky
Sall, who resigned with the victory with 66 percent of the
Sall was a long-time member of the PDS, but in 2008 he
founded the Alliance pour la République (APR-Yaakar)
party which, before the 2012 parliamentary elections, merged
with smaller opposition parties and formed the alliance
Benno Bokk Yakar ('United in Hope'). This defeated the
PDS by a wide margin. In the 2017 election Benno Bokk Yakar
received 125 out of 165 seats. Second largest with 19 seats
was Wade's Alliance Winning Coalition Wattu Senegaal.
Of the elected MPs, 69 (42 percent) were women.
The presidential election held in February 2019 was
preceded by political controversy. Two of the candidates
considered to be able to challenge incumbent President Sall
if power was banned from running for election. It was partly
the popular Khalifa Sall (born 1956), who in 2018 was
sentenced to prison for misuse of public funds and was
deprived of the mayor's office in Dakar, and also Abdoulaye
Wade's son Karim Wade (born 1968). The latter was sentenced
in 2015 to six years in prison for corruption and the
Supreme Court justified the decision not to allow him to be
nominated for presidential post by being sentenced to more
than five years in prison.
Macky Sall won a clear victory with 58 percent of the
vote already in the first round. Two came former Prime
Minister Idrissa Seck (born in 1960) (21 percent).
The legal system in Senegal is mainly French inspired.
Civil Law, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure Law and Criminal
Procedure Law. However, traditional domestic custom, largely
influenced by Islam, plays an important role in certain
areas of law. The death penalty was abolished in 2004; the
last execution took place in 1967.
Heads of State
||Leopold Sédar Senghor