Freedom in the World
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
President Abdoulaye Wade’s appointment of a new Constitutional Council president in August 2010 was viewed as an attempt to preempt any legal challenges to his intention to run for a third term in the 2012 elections The revelation of cases of wasteful government spending and ongoing social problems led to growing public discontent throughout the year.
Since independence from France in 1960, Senegal has avoided military or harsh authoritarian rule and has never suffered a successful coup d’etat. President Leopold Senghorexercised de facto one-party rule through the Socialist Party (PS) for nearly two decades after independence. Most political restrictions were lifted after 1981, when Abdou Diouf of the PS succeeded Senghor. Diouf went on to win large victories in unfair elections in 1988 and 1993.
Senegal is an electoral democracy. The National Observatory of Elections has credibly overseen legislative and presidential polls since its creation in 1997. The president is elected by popular vote for up to two terms, and the length of the term was extended from five to seven years by a constitutional amendment in 2008. The president appoints the prime minister. In recent years, President Abdoulaye Wade has repeatedly replaced the prime minister. In April 2009, he shuffled his cabinet and appointed Souleymane NdénéNdiaye—Wade’s former spokesman—to the premiership.