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Politics of Senegal


Politics in Senegal takes place within the framework of a semi-presidential, democratic republic. The President of Senegal is the head of state and the Prime Minister of Senegal the head of government. Executive power in Senegal is concentrated in the president's hands.


While legislative power is technically vested in both the government and the parliament, the parliament rarely introduces legislation or votes down legislation proposed by the government.Similarly, although the Judiciary is theoretically independent of the executive and the legislature, the executive branch seems to exert undue control over the judiciary.

Senegal is one of the few African states that has never experienced a coup d'état or exceptionally harsh authoritarianism. Léopold Senghor, the first president after independence, resigned in 1981, handing over the office of president to his Prime Minister, Abdou Diouf. The present president, Macky Sall, was elected in competitive democratic elections in March 2012.

Senegal has a reputation for transparency in government operations. The level of economic corruption that has damaged the development of the economies in other parts of the world is very low. Today Senegal has a democratic political culture, being part of one of the most successful democratic transitions in Africa.

The President is elected by universal adult suffrage to a 5-year term. The unicameral National Assembly has 150 members, who are elected separately from the President. The Socialist Party dominated the National Assembly until April 2001, when in free and fair legislative elections, President Wade's coalition won a majority (90 of 150 seats).

The Cour Suprême (Highest Appeals Court, equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court) and the Constitutional Council, the justices of which are named by the President, are the nation's highest tribunals. Senegal is divided into 11 administrative regions, each headed by a governor appointed by and responsible to the President. The law on decentralization, which came into effect in January 1998, distributed significant central government authority to regional assemblies.

Executive branch

The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The prime minister is appointed by the president. The 2001 constitution introduced a two-term limit for the president. Abdoulaye Wade, after initially saying he was bound by the two term limit, now argues that his first term was under the old constitution, and he is eligible to stand again.

The Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president

Legislative branch

The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 150 members, elected for a five-year term, by parallel voting, with multi-seat rather than single-seat constituencies for the plurality part of the system.

Judicial branch

The nation's highest courts that deal with business issues are the constitutional council, and the court of justice, members of which are named by the president.