Aspirations and Realities in Africa: Senegal’s Vigorous but Constrained Election

Issue Date July 2019
Volume 30
Issue 3
Page Numbers 94-108
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Senegal’s status as a leading democracy on the African continent is a contested one, challenged in new ways in each election and yet maintained over time through high levels of citizen participation and vigorous competition. The February 2019 presidential elections was no exception. With the benefit of incumbency advantages, Macky Sall won in the first round against a narrowed set of competitors. His victory reflects three major trends in sub-Saharan Africa today: the politicization and delegitimation of institutions of electoral administration, the rising popularity of “youth” candidates, and the drive toward postelection executive centralization.

About the Authors

Rachel Beatty Riedl

Rachel Beatty Riedl is associate professor of political science and director of the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University, and a faculty fellow of the Institute for Policy Research. Her latest book (with Gwyneth H. McClendon) is From Pews to Politics: Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa (2019).

View all work by Rachel Beatty Riedl

Ndongo Samba Sylla

Ndongo Samba Sylla is a development economist and program and research manager in the West Africa office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. He is coauthor of L’arme invisible de la Françafrique: Une histoire du franc CFA (2018).

View all work by Ndongo Samba Sylla