On March 20, 38 percent of Senegalese voters participated in a constitutional referendum that President Macky Sall chose to initiate halfway through his first presidential term. Of those who voted, 63 percent approved proposed amendments to Senegal’s constitution that were promoted by the president and his ruling coalition as 15 major propositions “to modernize the political regime, reinforce good governance and consolidate rule of law.” The propositions included reducing the presidential term from seven to five years, lowering barriers to independent candidacy in all types of elections, designating the leader of the largest parliamentary party as “head of opposition” and increasing the number of Constitutional Council members while diversifying their mode of appointment. These amendments might further democratic consolidation in Senegal, which has long enjoyed a reputation as a beacon of democracy in the region. But the politics of the referendum have been more complex than a mere “up or down” vote on strengthening certain aspects of Senegalese democracy.
Senegal: Sall Maneuvers for Re-Election in Senegal With Term-Limit Referendum Win | World Politics Review
March 20, a day some analysts dubbed “Africa’s Super Sunday,” included a referendum in Senegal on the question of whether to reduce presidential terms from seven to five years. By the next day, both the press and the government were projecting a sweeping victory for the “yes” camp. The divisions surrounding the vote may seem strange at first: President Macky Sall and his supporters favored the reduction, while opposition parties opposed it. Sall emerges from the referendum battle politically strengthened. He can put a nagging controversy behind him, and he positions himself to approach the next election on his own terms. The issue of presidential term limits looms large across Africa, but it has unusual parameters in Senegal. Elsewhere, the issue centers on the question of term limits, while in Senegal there has been controversy about both limits and length. Sall’s predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, was elected to a seven-year term in 2000, but a new constitution in 2001 reduced the length of subsequent presidential terms to five years. Wade was re-elected in 2007, and the following year Senegal’s National Assembly approved a constitutional amendment reverting to seven-year presidential terms. Wade then went back on an earlier pledge and ran again in 2012, claiming that the constitutionally imposed two-term limit, passed in 2001, did not apply to his first term. That controversy was settled at the ballot box rather than in the courts, with Sall’s victory, but the issue of term length has lingered in Senegal.
Senegalese residents on Sunday voted on a constitutional referendum that could see sweeping constitutional reforms including a reduction of presidential powers and terms from seven to five years, on a continent where many leaders try to hold onto power. More than 5 million people are expected to vote Sunday to determine if 15 reforms will be adopted, according to the election commission. The proposed changes include measures to strengthen the National Assembly, improve representation for Senegalese abroad, provide greater rights for the opposition and boost participation of independent candidates in elections. “We are a modern African democracy. Today in Africa, many countries impose mandates. Here we are giving referendums for which people can say yes or no,” said voter Mamadou Diagne, 58, a human resources representative at an oil company. “It’s very satisfying to be a Senegalese today.” Diagne said all of the reforms represent advancement.
The political barometer in Senegal is getting higher and tenser by the day as the country approaches a crucial referendum scheduled to be held on March 20 on 15 proposals for amendment of the Constitution submitted by President Macky Sall. It would be recalled that during his campaign for the presidential elections in 2012, President Sall…
New and more inclusive elections in November have been proposed as military leaders said the general behind the coup will lead the country during the transitional period. The proposed plan will be taken up Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, by West African member states of the regional bloc known as Ecowas. The announcement by Senegal’s President Macky Sall comes after a day fraught with tensions that began with an attack by pro-coup demonstrators and elite presidential guard soldiers on the hotel hosting the talks. Earlier in the day, angry protesters had clashed outside the hotel where negotiations were taking place, with some shouting: “No to Diendere! No to military rule!”
Mediators in Burkina Faso’s political crisis proposed new and more inclusive elections in November, though the military that seized power in a coup last week indicated Sunday it still wants its general to lead the country during any transitional period. That could prove to be a serious sticking point after a draft agreement was released late Sunday following two days of talks led by the presidents of Senegal and Benin. The proposed plan will be taken up Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, by West African member states of the regional bloc known as ECOWAS. Senegalese President Macky Sall, who helped lead the weekend talks, said the draft was the result of discussions with all parties. “We have two ways out here: The first one is through peace…that will lead to an end of the crisis through fair and democratic elections,” Mr. Sall said, adding that the other route would lead to “chaos.”
Senegal’s new President Macky Sall has won a huge majority in legislative elections, official results show. His Benno Bokk Yakaar (United in Hope) coalition won 119 of the 150 seats. The Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) of former President Abdoulaye Wade gained only 12 seats, while a breakaway PDS faction won four seats. After 12 years in power, Mr Wade was defeated by Mr Sall in March’s tense elections which saw at least six people killed in anti-Wade protests.
A coalition backing new Senegalese President Macky Sall was poised to win majority seats in parliament, according to provisional results reported by local media on Sunday after legislative elections in the west African country. Early counts reported by Senegal’s APS news agency showed that Sall’s Alliance for the Republic party (APR) and the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition were leading in several constituencies across the country. Results on APS’s website showed that the leading coalition had won the vote in several major districts including Thies, Kaolack, St. Louis and the capital Dakar. Complete provisional results are expected by Tuesday.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall is seeking to win a parliamentary majority in a July 1 election to push ahead with plans to combat corruption and cut government spending. Sall, 51, leads the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition that’s running for the National Assembly’s 150 seats. The main challengers are the Parti Democratique Senegalaise, headed by ex-President Abdoulaye Wade, and the Bokk Gis Gis coalition led by the current head of the parliament’s upper house, Pape Diop. The president needs control of parliament to help implement changes, such as audits of government departments, that he’s made since defeating 86-year-old Wade in a March presidential election, said Abdou Fall, a Senegal analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa.
Campaigning begins in Senegal on Sunday ahead of next month’s legislative polls, with the former ruling party crying foul over corruption probes launched against key members after the election of President Macky Sall. Twenty-four lists of parties and party coalitions are contesting the July 1 elections, in which voters will pick 150 lawmakers for a five-year mandate. The polls mark the first popularity test for Sall, who won the March 25 presidential election run-off against Abdoulaye Wade, ending his 12 years in power. Sall’s presidential coalition is favourite to win the legislative polls. But the former ruling Democratic Party of Senegal (PDS) has accused the new administration of harassing its members in the run-up to the elections.
Voting Blogs: African Elections in 2012 on the World Stage and in the Classroom | Concurring Opinions
Teaching U.S. election law in the shadow of a presidential election is an election law professor’s dream. There is no better backdrop for the material or more engaging context to capture student interest in the subject. However, as I also teach a comparative election law course that examines election law issues internationally, I had a difficult time deciding which to offer this fall in light of the seemingly record number of presidential and legislative elections this year. On no other continent is this cloudburst of elections more evident than in Africa. The concentration of African elections is owing not just to Africa having more countries and democracies than any other continent; rather, the combination of the Arab spring and the happenstance of calendrical synchronicity has yielded a mother lode of elections on the continent. Africa is evidence that, against many odds, democracy is at work. In the United States, democracy works in large part because of deeply entrenched historical values and a multiplicity of modern interests that depend on democratic institutions. Indeed, in much of the Western world, democracy enjoys a worn expectation as a successful form of governance. In modern Africa, however, democracy increasingly prevails because the lion’s share of its inhabitants is moving steadfastly and stubbornly against authoritarianism and the one-party state in hopes for a fairer, freer, and more equal form of government. Simply put, democracy in Africa grows from the same soil of revolution and idealism that nourished the seeds of U.S. democracy nearly three centuries ago. For those of us interested in the study of democracy, Africa is a place to watch in 2012.
Senegal’s new president won the runoff election in a landslide, garnering nearly twice as many votes as the incumbent of 12 years, according to provisional results released Tuesday. Senegalese officials announced that Macky Sall had won 65.80 percent of ballots cast in Sunday’s runoff ballot, benefiting from a united opposition in the second round of voting. Incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade won 34.20 percent of the vote — slightly less than his percentage in the first round last month. It marked a sharp drop-off from the last presidential race in 2007, when he easily won the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. “It’s a landslide victory for President Macky Sall,” said Mbaye Ndiaye, who represents the opposition coalition that supported Sall in the runoff.
The moment that crystallized this nation’s reputation as one of Africa’s established democracies was in the morning after the presidential election 12 years ago. In the neoclassical presidential palace, Senegalese President Abdou Diouf stayed awake all night, counting and recounting the results that showed in no uncertain terms that he had lost. Mr. Diouf could have rigged the election from the start, as his neighbor to the north in Mauritania had the habit of doing. He could have stacked the court in charge of validating the election with supporters, the strategy his neighbor to the south in Ivory Coast would put to good use one day. He could have deployed the army to keep his grasp on power like in nearby Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau – all of which share a border with Senegal, a nation of 12.4 million on Africa’s western edge. Instead, the 64-year-old president emerged from his office, told his aides to draft a statement conceding defeat and picked up the phone to congratulate the man who had beaten him, Abdoulaye Wade.
Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade accused the foreign powers that lined up against his bid for a third term of being dupes on Sunday after casting his ballot in the West African state’s most contentious poll in its recent history. The 85-year-old leader, whose bid to extend his rule triggered deadly street riots in the normally peaceful country ahead of a February first round, was urged by the United States and France not to run. He is expected to face a tough challenge from rival Macky Sall, a former ally and prime minister who has won the support of Senegal’s myriad opposition parties since taking second place in the February vote.
Senegalese superstar Youssou Ndour, who has lent his golden voice to politics, hit the campaign trail a week before run-off polls to rally support for presidential challenger Macky Sall. Ndour, along with all 12 presidential candidates who fell out of the country’s electoral race in a first round of voting, are campaigning hard for Sall, to block a controversial third term bid by 85-year-old incumbent Abdoulaye Wade. The Grammy-award winning artist has been at the forefront of this campaign since his own attempt to run for office was thwarted by the constitutional court which said he did not have enough signatures supporting his candidacy.