Senegal: The Return of Personalism

Issue Date January 2008
Volume 19
Issue 1
Page Numbers 156-169
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From a democratic perspective, the era of President Wade has been a severe disappointment, dashing hopes that the great turnover of 2000 would pave the way for democratic consolidation. President Wade was reelected to a fresh term on 25 February 2007 but the problems gripping the country have done nothing but intensify since his reelection. The signs of trouble include a twelve-party boycott of the 3 June 2007 elections for the 150-seat National Assembly, the lack of dialogue among contending political factions, and the demand by the leading opposition coalition for a national conference. Despite the promise of democracy in 2000, Senegal today has declined to the point of mere electoral authoritarianism.

Erratum: This is a corrected text of the print and original online version of this essay, portions of which drew heavily on Tarik Dahou and Vincent Foucher’s “Le Sénégal, entre changement politique et révolution passive. ‘Sopi’ or not ‘Sopi’?” Politique africaine 96 (December 2004) without adequate attribution. This is the only version that should be used for citation or further dissemination.

About the Author

Penda Mbow is associate professor of history at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, where she has published widely on African political and social issues. She has previously served as Senegal’s minister of culture. This essay was translated from the French by Philip Costopoulos.

View all work by Penda Mbow