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Senegal Elections 2024: A Look at the country’s 12th presidential polls

Senegal is expected to go to the polls on February 25, 2024, to elect a new president to take over from H.E. Macky Sall, whose tenure ends after two terms in office.

Macky Sall was elected president in 2012 for seven years and re-elected in 2019 to serve a second term. In July 2023, he ruled out any possibility of staying for a third term in a nationwide broadcast.

The Senegalese constitution requires that only persons between the ages of 35 and 75 are eligible to contest as presidential candidates.

On Saturday, January 20, Senegal’s Constitutional Council published a list of 20 candidates cleared to contest February’s presidential election. This number is a significant drop from the 93 aspirants who filed to contest the elections.

Since the country gained independence in 1960, it has peacefully transitioned power between two political parties twice. The first was in 2000, when the then president, Abdou Diouf, handed over power to Abdoulaye Wade after losing a re-election bid. He had been in power since 1981. The second political transition took place in 2012, when the outgoing president, Macky Sall, defeated Abdoulaye Wade after the latter stood for re-election following a controversial extension of the constitution to permit a third-term mandate.

Macky Sall is only the fourth president to lead the country in its history. The country’s first president, Leopold Sedar Senghor, ruled for about two decades until his resignation in 1980. Abdou Diouf took over from him on the ticket of the same political party and reigned from 1981 to 2000, when the first political transition happened, ending a 40-year rule of the Socialist Party in the country.

Abdoulaye Wade became president in 2000 after winning the elections against Abdou Diouf and governed for two terms before losing a third-term bid to Macky Sall in 2012. The election to find Macky Sall’s successor would be Senegal’s 12th presidential election since independence.

Senegal is one of a few countries on the continent that has never experienced a military coup. The country looks set to elect its 5th president since its independence.


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