Senegal Government and Politics

State and politics

Senegal Country Flag

Reference: Senegal Flag Meaning


According to, 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 byAbdoulaye Wade.

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 vote.

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


1960-80 Leopold Sédar Senghor
1981-2000 Abdou Diouf
2000-12 Abdoulaye Wade
2012- Macky Sall

Senegal Head of Government

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