Democracy and rights
Democratic tradition and the rule of law are
strong in Senegal. But the government has recently been
criticized for limiting the opposition's potential for
Senegal is usually described as one of Africa's most
stable democracies. Multiparty systems have prevailed
since the 1970s and elections are usually reported by
independent observers as free and fair. The opposition
is large and important rights are enshrined in the
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Senegal, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
But recent developments have worried human rights
organizations. Prior to the 2019 presidential election,
the rules for how votes were counted changed in a way
that was considered to have limited the opposition's
chances of winning. At the same time, criminal charges
have been brought against several foreground figures
within the opposition, charges that are believed to be
politically motivated. However, international election
observers approved the election (see Current Policy).
Civil society is vibrant and has a strong tradition.
According to the law, freedom of assembly and
association prevails. Demonstrations, however, must be
approved by the Interior Ministry, which also regulates
their time and place. In the past year, it has happened
that the regime has refused permission for
demonstrations and forcibly dispelled peaceful public
According to the Constitution, men and women are
equal, but gender stereotyped roles and customs live
requirements especially in rural areas. But developments
are moving forward and in 2018, 42 percent of the
members of parliament were women.
Homosexuality is prohibited by law and taboo. The
penalties are imprisonment for up to five years, but it
is uncommon for prosecution to be brought (see Social
Freedom of religion is guaranteed in Senegal's
constitution and tolerance is great between the
country's various religious groups (see Religion).
Corruption occurs. However, Transparency
International, which places Senegal in place 67 in its
index of perceived corruption in 180 countries, believes
that the situation is better than in most other West
African countries. In 2014, a law was passed requiring
the president and senior political officials to disclose
their assets at the end of each year.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of the press and opinion are included in the
constitution. At the same time, the media is limited by
laws that allow journalists to risk imprisonment and
high fines for insulting the president, publishing fake
news or threatening the country's security. The Law of
Contempt has been used to prosecute journalists who have
been critical of the regime.
Under President Sall, the media climate has been
relatively tolerant and many media have been able to
take a government-critical stance without feeling bad.
In 2013, however, the editor-in-chief of the privately
owned newspaper Le Quotidien was sentenced to one month
in prison and fined for publishing a critical article on
a former foreign minister. A reporter in the daily
newspaper was also sentenced to a shorter prison
sentence. The court also decided to close Le Quotidien
for three months. Other prosecution charges or charges
of "spreading fake news" have also resulted in similar
Access to the internet is not restricted by the
authorities, but in 2018 a law was passed that gives the
authorities increased powers to restrict and monitor
social channels online.
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary is based on the French judicial system.
The courts are relatively competent and formally
independent, but are sometimes criticized for being
influenced by political or economic authorities (see
The government says it is fighting impunity and some
investigations into human rights violations have led to
convictions. In practice, however, investigations of
reported abuse within the police or of corruption in the
authorities rarely occur.
Senegal has problems with overcrowded prisons. It is
not uncommon for long detention times to be sentenced.
The death penalty was abolished in 2004.
Special court set up to review Chad's former dictator
Parliament formally approves the setting up of a special court to investigate
Chad's former dictator Hissène Habré (see Political system), which has long been
in Senegal; The African Union (AU) will appoint judges on a proposal from
Senegal's Minister of Justice. The chairman of the court must come from another
MFDC releases prisoners
The separation movement MFDC in Casamance releases eight Senegalese it has
held captive. The releases are a first result of the Catholic Church's mediation
to initiate peace talks between the MFDC and the government.
Parliament votes to abolish the Senate and Vice Presidential post
Both chambers of Parliament vote to abolish the Senate and the Vice
Presidential post. President Sall's critics argue that it is a way for him to
reduce the influence of the opposition, since most of the senators are related
to Wade, but the Sall government states that it is about saving money for the
rescue work after the floods (see August 2012).
Senegal is affected by floods
Senegal is hit by severe floods that require at least 13 lives and thousands
of homeless people become homeless. President Sall cancels a visit to South
Africa to go home. He announces plans to close the Senate in order to save money
for the rescue work.
1/7 Parliamentary elections
The July 1 parliamentary election will be a major victory for President
Sall's party ally Benno Bokk Yakaar ("United in Hope" on the Wolof), who will
receive 119 of the 150 seats in the National Assembly. Wade's PDS wins only 12
mandates, while 4 mandates go to a faction that broke out of PDS. The turnout is
only 37 percent. A new law introduced to create more space for women produces
results when 64 women are elected to the National Assembly. 1/7.
The former interior minister is arrested
Former Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom is arrested and questioned about how he
has made his fortune.
The president of the campaign to fight corruption
On May 8, President Sall reports on his financial assets, which is part of
his campaign to fight corruption. Before that, the government has appointed a
special court to try to recover the state's assets lost through corruption and
other irregularities. Former President Wade threatens to disrupt parliamentary
elections unless investigations are closed.
New President assumes office
Macky Sall will take over as President on April 2 and appoint Abdoul Mbaye as
new Prime Minister the following day. Sall appoints the singer and media mogul
N'Dour as Minister of Tourism and Culture. N'Dour supported Sall in the election
since he himself had failed his candidacy (see January 2012).
25/3 Second round of elections
The second round of the presidential election will be held on March 25. That
evening, President Wade acknowledges defeat and congratulates Macky Sall on the
victory. The official result shows that Sall received support from 66 percent of
voters, against 34 percent for Wade. EU observers note that both the electoral
movement and the election itself were carried out without major problems.
26/2 First round
The election is held as planned. The turnout will be 51.6 percent. When the
results are presented, it turns out that Wade received just under 35 percent,
Macky Sall closer to 27 percent, Moustapha Niasse 13 percent, Ousmane Tanor
Dieng 11 percent and Idrissa Seck close to 8 percent. This makes it clear that
there will be a second round of elections between Wade and Sall.
The EU and AU are monitoring the election
Both the EU and the African Union (AU) send observers to the election. On
February 21, Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo will come to Senegal
to mediate. Among other things, he will meet the leaders of the M23 movement and
several opposition candidates. Obasanjo's proposal for a solution is rejected by
the opposition, according to the proposal, Wade would resign after two years if
he wins the election.
Election campaign before the presidential election begins
The election campaign for the February 26 presidential election begins
formally at the beginning of the month. The protests are mounting with clashes
between protesters, demanding that Wade withdraw his candidacy, and police.
Concerns are also raised that the conflict is gaining a religious dimension as
some protesters have begun to shout religious slogans (something that is unusual
in Senegal). Unrest erupts around a mosque in Dakar after police threw a tear
gas cartridge into the building. The police management later apologizes for
this. Two more people are killed in connection with the unrest, but street
Wade's candidacy is approved
On January 27, a month before the election, the Constitutional Court will
sign Wade's candidacy, but will reject N'Dours, among others. The decision
triggers rattles. At least four people lose their lives.
Youssou N'Dour is running for president
Youssou N'Dour (see November 2011) announces at the beginning of the month
that he is running for president.