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Senegal - 2012 Election

In Senegal all members of the Constitutional Council are appointed by the president. He does not need to consult Parliament or to have parliamentary approval. Even in a functioning multi-party democracy, such unfettered appointment powers of the chief executive would probably result in a highly partisan court." Senegals Constitutional Council ruled at the beginning of 2012 that President Abdoulaye Wade could run for a third term in office, despite the adoption of a new Constitution in 2001 limiting the president to two terms. The Council held that the first election of Wade took place under the previous constitution and should therefore not be taken into account when calculating the allowed number of terms under the new constitution. In the Councils view, Wades re-election in 2007 would count as his first official term under the new document.

The 150 registered political parties generally operated without restriction or outside interference; however, on January 27, the Constitutional Council disallowed three candidates from running in the presidential election for not collecting the 10,000 signatures required. Each of the rejected candidates, including musician Youssou Ndour, appealed the ruling. Seven approved candidates also filed complaints against the validation of former President Wades candidacy to run for a constitutionally questionable third term.

The election on 25 March 2012 of the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, which took place in a calm and transparent manner, despite the fears aroused by Abdoulaye Wade's wish to represent himself, confirmed the democratic maturity of the country. Due to the limited progress of the economy and structural policies in the education, health and social services sectors, the expectations of the population, especially of young people, remain important in terms of employment and employment, Improvement of living conditions and good governance are the priorities of the authorities.

In the first round, 35 percent of the people voted for Wade. The other 65 percent was distributed among a numerous opposition field, which is unanimously supporting Macky Sall in the second round. Senegal's marabouts guide the country's Sufi Muslim majority in virtually all sectors of life, yet their influence in politics is not what it once was. Although they will play a role in the run-off presidential election, how much of one remained to be seen. President Aboulaye Wades bid for a third term has faced a strong opposition movement. After failing to win the first round outright in February, he looked to the marabouts for their support in the March 25 runoff against Macky Sall. Many of these religious leaders are remaining neutral in the election, but some have taken sides.

There were isolated reports of minor irregularities, such as insufficient equipment or late openings at some polling stations. On July 1, Salls Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition won the majority of seats in National Assembly elections. These legislative elections were also considered as free and fair. The Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition supporting the country's new President, Mr. Macky Sall, won a resounding victory, taking 119 of the 150 seats at stake. It pledged to address women's rights and youth unemployment. Former President Abdoulaye Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) and the Bokk gis gis (Bgg) coalition, formed by PDS dissidents, came in a distant second and third, taking 12 and four seats respectively. Senate President Pape Diop and Speaker Mamadou Seck were both elected on a Bgg ticket. The 15 remaining seats went to 10 smaller parties. The 2012 elections were the first to be held after the adoption of a gender parity law in May 2010 under which half of each party's candidates must be women. A record 64 women (42.67%) were elected, up from 27 (18%) in 2007.

On August 28, President Sall announced the abolition of the Senate as a cost-saving measure. The decision was widely welcomed by civil society, as the Senate, reestablished by President Wade in 2007, had no functional role in the Senegalese legislative process and consisted largely of presidential appointees. Senegal gained 7 points since 2012 in the freedom of the press index with 48 points in total. In the Freedom House's world freedom index, since 2012, Senegal has moved from partially free to free thanks to the peaceful transition of government in 2012. Senegal maintained the positive trajectory that began when President Macky Sall took office in early 2012, with improvements including better enforcement of legal protections, fewer legal cases against the press, and decrease of harassment and attacks against journalists both while covering the news and in retaliation for their reports .

This positive result resulted in a gain of 4 points in the freedom of press index in Senegal since 2012, before which was in decline. Senegal therefore stands amongst the Top 5 countries with the best progression Press in Senegal is considered one of the most free in the region, with Cte dIvoire, Burkina Faso and Mali.

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