Africa

Senegal profile - Leaders

  • 16 June 2015
  • From the section Africa

President: Macky Sall

Image caption Macky Sall was once an ally of his predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, before falling out with him

Macky Sall won presidential elections in March 2012, replacing President Abdoulaye Wade, who controversially ran for a third term in office.

A former close associate of his predecessor, Mr Sall broke away in 2008 to form his own opposition party.

He challenged Mr Wade for the presidency in March 2012, beating him in the second round after winning the support of other opposition parties.

Mr Sall's coalition won a landslide majority in legislative elections four months after he was elected, amid widespread popular discontent with corruption under Mr Wade.

On coming to power, Mr Sall appointed a government that included world-renowned singer Youssou Ndour as tourism minister.

A geological engineer born in 1961, Mr Sall served as prime minister then speaker of parliament under President Wade, until they came into conflict over the political role of the president's son, Karim, whereupon Mr Sall was forced out of the governing Democratic Party and his post as speaker.

Mr Sall returned to his political base in the town of Fatick, where he was re-elected mayor and built up support for his eventually successful presidential bid.

In 2015, Karim Wade was found guilty of illicit enrichment while he was a minister during his father's presidency, in what critics called a politically motivated case aimed at stamping out opposition.

Wade has been named as the candidate of main opposition Senegalese Democratic Party in the next presidential election.

Mr Sall favours cutting the presidential term from seven years to five and limiting the number of consecutive terms a president can serve to two. This pledge helped to win him the endorsement of other candidates in the run-off against President Wade.

Senegal has a lively political scene, with parties competing across ethnic, religious and ideological lines.