n African Security Review - Senegal's democracy : has Wade lost his edge? : Africa watch

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The recent 'national dialogue' initiated by opposition parties and civil society organisations in Senegal in an attempt to frame solutions to the country's latent political crisis highlights the fragility of the democratic experiments in Africa. Since gaining its independence from France in 1960, Senegal has been a model for political stability in West Africa. For almost two decades Léopold Senghor, Senegal's first president, governed a relatively democratic system before stepping down willingly in 1981. His party, the Socialist Party, remained in power until the election of Abdoulaye Wade in 2000. While the 2000 elections ushered in a new political dispensation in Senegal, recent growing political dissension and socio-economic problems cast serious concerns over Wade's political legacy and the state of democracy in Senegal. Low-intensity but protracted armed conflict in the Casamance and recurrent social protests tend to cloud the ambitions of Wade's Coalition for Change, mainly because his international actions often receive a mixed welcome, if not outright contempt.


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