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HomeGlobal NewsSENEGAL'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: SENEGHOR'S ETHNIC GROUP TOPS PRESIDENTIAL LIST

SENEGAL’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: SENEGHOR’S ETHNIC GROUP TOPS PRESIDENTIAL LIST

By Mohamed Kamara (Former Senegalese Correspondent)

The March 25, 2024, Presidential Elections in Senegal have crowned Bassirou Diomagya Fase as the winner, making him the 5th President of Senegal since the country gained independence from France in the early 1960s. Senegal is highly esteemed as the only country in the Sub-Region that has never experienced a military coup, except for a rebel uprising in the South of Senegal (Casamance), which lasted for over two decades.

Unlike Sierra Leone and Guinea, where ethnicity often plays a significant role in the choice of Presidents, Senegal continues to uphold its tradition with the ethnic group of its first President, Léopold Sédar Senghor, producing four out of five Presidents since independence. Senghor hailed from the SERER ethnic group, renowned for its industrious nature and predominantly located in the central part of Senegal. From Thies to Bambay, Dangalma to Fatile, and Dioubral to other regions in Senegal, Serers are known for their agricultural prowess and a high percentage of educated children.

Upon Senghor’s relinquishment of power after 40 years of rule, his successor, Abdou Diouf, also belonged to the Serer ethnic group. Diouf served two consecutive terms before being succeeded by Abdoulaye Wade, the only Wolof in Senegal’s political history to occupy the presidency.

Abdoulaye Wade, a former Minister in Senghor’s 40-year rule, resigned to form the People’s Democratic Party of Senegal (PDP). After 26 years, Wade won the elections against Abdou Diouf. A Lawyer and Economist by profession, Wade successfully amended the constitution and introduced the Senate House. He served two consecutive terms and was succeeded by Macky Sall, who had once served as his Minister of Energy, Prime Minister, Campaign Manager, and Speaker but later fell out with his former boss.

Macky Sall formed his own party and won against Wade in a coalition with other minority political parties. He ruled for 12 years. In March 2024, another SERER, Faye, emerged victorious in the Presidential race. Most of the prominent politicians of a decade ago, such as Mustapha Niess, Djibo Ka, and Idrissa Sack, have either retired from politics or have bid farewell due to age. Despite ethnic differences, Senegal stands out as a country where peace and national cohesion take precedence over politics.

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