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World > Africa > Senegal > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Senegal - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Senegal is a secular republic with a strong presidency, weak legislature, weak judiciary, and multiple political parties. Under the 2001 constitution, presidents serve for 5 years and are limited to two terms. Abdoulaye Wade was the last President to be elected to a 7-year term, in 2000. His current term expires in 2012. The National Assembly's members are elected separately from the president.

The Cour de Cassation (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 1997, distributed significant central government authority to regional assemblies.

Senegal is one of the few African states that has never experienced a coup d?etat. Power was transferred peacefully, if not altogether democratically, from Leopold Sedar Senghor to Abdou Diouf in 1981, and once again, this time in fully democratic elections, from Diouf to Wade in March 2000. Senegal?s principal political party was for 40 years the Socialist Party (PS). Its domination of political life came to an end in March 2000, when Wade, the leader of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) and leader of the opposition for more than 25 years, won the presidency. The Socialist Party also dominated the National Assembly until April 2001, when in free and fair legislative elections, President Wade?s coalition won a majority (89 of 120 seats).

President Wade has advanced a liberal agenda for Senegal, including privatizations and other market-opening measures. He has a strong interest in raising Senegal?s regional and international profile. The country, nevertheless, has limited means with which to implement ambitious ideas. The liberalization of the economy is proceeding, but at a slow pace. Senegal continues to play a significant role in regional and international organizations. President Wade has made excellent relations with the United States a high priority.

There are numerous political parties, most of which are marginal and little more than platforms for their leaders. The principal political parties, however, constitute a true multiparty, democratic political culture, and they have contributed to one of the most successful democratic transitions in Africa, in spite of the fact that they failed to nominate a single opposition candidate for the 2007 presidential elections. Senegal has a tradition of a flourishing independent media, largely free from official or informal control, though there were some reports press restrictions prior to the February 2007 election. The country?s generally tolerant culture, largely free from ethnic or religious tensions, has provided a resilient base for democratic politics.

Principal Government Officials
President of the Republic--Abdoulaye Wade
President of the National Assembly--Pape Diop
President of the Constitutional Council--Mirelle Ndiaye

Ministers
Prime Minister--Cheikh Hadjibou Soumare
Senior Minister of Foreign Affairs--Cheikh Tidiane Gadio
Senior Minister of Economy and Finance--Abdoulaye Diop
Senior Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals--Cheikh Tidiane Sy
Senior Minister of Interior--Ousmane Ngom
Minister of Armed Forces--Becaye Diop
Minister of Commerce--A. Hadjibou Ndiaye
Minister of Health--Issa Mbaye Samb

Ambassador to the United States--Amadou Lamine Ba
Ambassador to the United Nations--Paul Bade

Senegal maintains an embassy in the United States at 2112 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-234-0540), and a Mission to the United Nations at 392 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10018 (tel. 212-517-9030).


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - CFA Franc BCEAO Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
CFA Franc BCEAO Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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