chapter  2
34 Pages

Government and Politics

WithSheldon Gellar

Senegalese politics during the postcolonial Senghor era went through three distinct periods: 1960—1963; 1964—1975; and 1976–1980. The first was characterized by fiercely competitive electoral politics, the consolidation of the UPS’;s hold over the country, and the emergence of Senghor as Senegal’;s undisputed national leader. In liberalizing Senegalese politics, Senghor was setting the stage for his eventual withdrawal from the political scene. Since reestablishing the office of prime minister in 1970, Senghor had been grooming Abdou Diouf to be his successor. By establishing a de facto one-party system built on his control of state resources and mastery of clientelist politics, Senghor had contributed to the decline of his own party’;s dynamism and thwarted the development of a vigorous and loyal opposition that could openly challenge national policies that had failed to stem Senegal’;s economic decline. Clan politics incorporated large numbers of people into the game of electoral politics and linked the mass of the population to regional and national leaders.