Launch of Report: "Senegal: An 'old' democracy in urgent need of reform"
June 25, 2012 - Dakar, Senegal
Launch of report - “Senegal: An ‘old’ democracy in urgent need of reform”
Senegal’s democratic system needs a serious overhaul, according to a recently released study on the country’s state of democratic and political participation. Among the list of suggested reforms is the modernization of the electoral process, the need to rationalize the presidential institution and the necessity of reinforcing the checks and balances mechanisms.
Published by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and The Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP), this study takes a comprehensive and critical look at democratic participation in Senegal. It draws lessons from the recently held presidential election, in February and March 2012, and offers new insights and perspectives to help guide the upcoming legislative elections scheduled for July 1st.
According to Hawa Ba, OSIWA’s Senegal program officer, “(T)he study provides concrete explanations of the problems experienced during the last presidential elections and outlines solutions to track the rebuilding of strong institutions in Senegal.”.
Among the key reforms suggested in the study is the need to restore parliamentary authority, to replace the current Constitutional Council with a Constitutional Court vested with jurisdiction to resolve electoral disputes, to protect the constitution against impromptu revisions that threaten democracy and to consolidate the Senegalese electoral framework through the strengthening of independent electoral bodies and the establishment of permanent mechanisms for political dialogue.
“Senegal’s parliament lacks authority and prestige, because of the ‘almighty’ power of the President, which leaves little room for the parliament to function, and also by the lack of designated deputies who actually represent the people rather than acting as executive officers,” says Professor Ismaila Madior Fall, author of this study. “It is important to establish a voting system that directly reflects the people’s mandate, and not simply that of the party leader.”
The report entitled "Sénégal: Une démocratie ‘ancienne” en mal de reforme" is available here (FRENCH only)
Ismaila Madior Fall's "Document de réflexion" is available here (FRENCH only)
The Senegalese general officer Lamine Cissé is the godfather of this report, helping to oversee and guide its evolution into the public sphere.
General Cissé is a highly esteemed general officer in Senegal. He was Inspector General of the Senegalese armed forces, High Commander of the Senegalese army, Minister of the Interior responsible for the 2000 presidential elections in Senegal and Special Representative to the United Nations in West Africa (UNOWA).
General Cissé is a renowed international expert in matters relating to elections, security and military reform and served as Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations for West Africa in 2007 and directed the UN office for Peace Consolidation in the Central African Republic (BONUCA).
OSIWA and AfriMAP are delighted to have the support of General Cissé and have produced this short video to share his opening remarks (in French) for the launch of the report.