The first round of elections for the Presidency of Senegal will take place on Sunday 24 February.
The electoral system for Presidential elections is a two-round system. If no candidate gains more than 50 per cent of the vote, the leading two candidates go forward to the second round of the election. If a second round is required this time, the vote will take place a few weeks after the first round result is legally certified.
The law on Presidential elections has been subject to disputed interpretations, particularly in 2012 when the previous President tried to run for a third term. The 2019 election is coming at the end of the the current President’s seven-year term dating back to the election of 2012, but future electoral terms will be for only five years.
Senegal is a long-term democracy having had two peaceful democratic transitions of power, in 2000 and then again in 2012. Politics is vigorously fought and sometimes spills over into street violence, but elections are properly contested, with freedom of speech and an independent commission running the process.
The role of the President
The President of Senegal is the head of the country’s government and appoints the Prime Minister, but important powers are also exercised by the 165-member National Assembly which is elected in separate elections. The last parliamentary elections took place in July 2017 and produced a two-thirds majority for supporters of the incumbent President, Macky Sall.
A longer version of this piece is posted at http://www.makemeaware.com/presidential-election-in-senegal/