Senegalese parliamentary election, 2007

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Parliamentary elections were held in Senegal on 3 June 2007. They had originally been planned to be held together with the presidential election on 25 February 2007, but were postponed.[1] Fourteen parties or coalitions participated in the elections, but they were marked by a major opposition boycott.[2] The ruling Sopi Coalition won 131 seats, including all 90 of the seats elected by majority voting.[3]

Electoral system[edit]

In late March, the National Assembly passed a law requiring gender parity in national candidate lists; this move was backed by Wade.[4] However, in early April it was reported that, due to an appeal against the law filed by the Socialist Party, the application of the law was suspended and it was not in effect for the June election.[5]

According to an electoral commission official in May, over 4,000 candidates were standing for the 150 National Assembly seats.[2] Previously the Assembly was composed of 120 seats. 90 of the seats in the new Assembly were to be decided through majority votes and 60 were to be decided through proportional representation.[6] Campaigning for the election began on 13 May[2] and ran until midnight on 1 June.[7] Members of the security forces voted a week early, on May 26 and May 27.[8][9] Participation among the security forces was placed at 27.23%, and the boycotting parties (grouped into a coalition called the Siggil Sénégal Front) said that this indicated that the security forces observed the boycott.[10]

Campaign[edit]

On 2 April, twelve opposition parties, including the former ruling Socialist Party and the Rewmi party of Idrissa Seck, who placed second in the presidential election, announced they would boycott the election, alleging that the electoral roll was doctored.[11] They wanted the electoral roll to be revised and for a new, independent electoral commission to be created.[12] They had demanded that the Interior Minister, Ousmane Ngom, be dismissed; they also said that the constituencies were drawn to the advantage of the Democratic Party of President Abdoulaye Wade, and demanded that they be redrawn.[11] Wade refused to talk to them and said that they could boycott if they wished.[12] On 5 April, it was announced that the coalition And Defarat Sénégal, including And-Jëf/African Party for Democracy and Socialism (AJ-PADS), would contest the election, with a spokesman saying that boycotts were not politically effective.[13] On 6 April, several of the main parties participating in the boycott announced that they were withdrawing their guarantees of 15 million CFA francs in order to invalidate their candidacies, citing the unwillingness of Wade to engage in dialogue.[12] Prior to the deadline at midnight on the same day,[5] 15 parties or coalitions filed candidate lists with the Interior Ministry, which had three days to determine the validity of the lists.[14][15] Interior Minister Ngom pointed to the participation of 15 lists as evidence for the health of Senegalese democracy;[15] others, however, have considered the situation to be a serious setback for democracy.[16] 14 of the lists were approved and one, an independent list, was rejected.[17]

In late April, the boycotting parties began a tour intended to explain the boycott throughout the country.[18]

Results[edit]

Initial reports described voter turnout as low,[19][20] and it was estimated that turnout was no higher than 30–35%.[21] Ngom[20] and Prime Minister Macky Sall said that it was premature to say that turnout was low while voting was ongoing; Sall also argued that in any country, turnout in parliamentary elections is lower than in presidential elections.[22] In the February 2007 presidential elections, turnout had been 70%; in the 2001 parliamentary elections it had been 67.4%.[19] After voting, Wade expressed his hope for a large turnout but noted that voting was voluntary in Senegal.[19][20] The Siggil Sénégal Front described turnout as very low and said that its boycott had been largely observed by the people.[19] Ngom said that the next National Assembly would be legitimate regardless of the turnout rate.[23] Former president Abdou Diouf voted in the election in Paris, despite the participation of the Socialist Party, which he led while he was president, in the boycott.[24]

An interior ministry estimate on 4 June placed turnout at about 38%. Sall said that the Sopi Coalition won all 35 electoral districts and all of the 90 seats determined by majority voting.[25] On the same day, the Siggil Sénégal Front demanded that Wade cancel the election and engage in dialogue with the opposition.[26]

Provisional results were released on 7 June showed the Sopi Coalition with a total of 131 seats, taking all 90 of the seats elected by majority voting and a further 41 seats elected by proportional representation. Voter turnout was placed at 34.75%.[27][28] Final results from the Constitutional Council on 14 June confirmed Sopi's victory with 131 seats.[3]

Party Votes % Seats
Sopi 2007 1,190,609 69.21 131
Takku Defaraat Sénégal 86,621 5.04 3
And Defaar Sénégal 84,998 4.94 3
Waar Wi 74,919 4.35 3
Rally for the People 73,083 4.25 2
Front for Socialism and Democracy/Benno Jubël 37,427 2.18 1
Alliance for Progress and Justice/Jëf-Jël 33,297 1.94 1
Convergence for Renewal and Citizenship 30,658 1.78 1
Authentic Socialist Party 26,320 1.53 1
National Patriotic Union/Tekki 22,271 1.29 1
Reform Movement for Social Development 20,041 1.16 1
Rally of the Ecologists of Senegal 17,267 1.00 1
Social Democratic Party/Jant Bi 15,968 0.93 1
Senegalese Patriotic Rally/Jammi Rewmi 6,847 0.40 0
Invalid/blank votes 18,349
Total 1,738,675 100 150
Registered voters/turnout 5,004,096 34.7
Source: African Elections Database

Aftermath[edit]

On 19 June Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré, a technocrat who was not a member of the PDS, was appointed Prime Minister by Wade to replace Sall.[29] A new government, largely similar to the old government and not including the opposition, was named on the same day.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Senegal hopes for elections in June", AFP (IOL), January 19, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Parties to boycott Senegal's legislative poll", AFP (IOL), May 14, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Le Conseil constitutionnel confirme définitivement la large victoire de la Coalition Sopi", Le Soleil (Seneweb.com), June 15, 2007 (French).
  4. ^ "Senegal guarantees gender balance in legislative polls", afrol News, March 28, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "La parité hommes/femmes pas applicable pour les législatives de juin", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 6, 2007 (French).
  6. ^ "Morne campagne pour les législatives au Sénégal", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), May 31, 2007 (French).
  7. ^ "Senegalese Home Affairs ministry publishes lists of legislative polls", African Press Agency, April 14, 2007.
  8. ^ "Senegalese soldiers and paramilitary vote Saturday and Sunday", African Press Agency, May 26, 2007.
  9. ^ "Some Senegalese opposition parties call for boycott of legislative polls", African Press Agency, May 28, 2007.
  10. ^ "Senegalese vote for 150 MPs", African Press Agency, June 3, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Diadie Ba, "Senegal's opposition to boycott elections", Reuters (IOL), April 2, 2007.
  12. ^ a b c "Sénégal: l'opposition refuse de participer aux législatives du 3 juin", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 6, 2007 (French).
  13. ^ "Party coalition unveils bid for parliamentary polls in Senegal", African Press Agency, April 5, 2007.
  14. ^ "Fifteen parties confirm participation in Senegal’s June legislative elections", African Press Agency, April 7, 2007.
  15. ^ a b "Ousmane Ngom : 15 listes candidates, c'est une performance à saluer", Agence du Presse Sénégalaise (Seneweb.com), April 7, 2007 (French).
  16. ^ "Sénégal: le boycott des législatives par l'opposition porte un coup à la démocratie", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), April 7, 2007 (French).
  17. ^ "Législatives : Pourquoi la liste des indépendants a été rejetée", WalFadjri (Seneweb.com), April 14, 2007 (French).
  18. ^ "Senegalese opposition explains legistive boycott to electorate", African Press Agency, April 25, 2007.
  19. ^ a b c d "Législatives au Sénégal: faible participation, boycottage de l'opposition", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), June 3, 2007 (French).
  20. ^ a b c "Senegal : Wade urges citizens to vote massively in spite of opposition boycott", African Press Agency, June 3, 2007.
  21. ^ "ANALYSE : Fiasco électoral", SudQuotidien (Seneweb.com), June 4, 2007 (French).
  22. ^ "Macky Sall : c'est prématuré de tirer des conclusions", Agence du Presse Senegalaise (Seneweb.com), June 3, 2007 (French).
  23. ^ "ME OUSMANE NGOM : «L’Assemblée nationale future sera légitime quel que soit le taux de participation»", Le Matin (Seneweb.com), June 4, 2007 (French).
  24. ^ "Senegal : former President votes in spite of opposition boycott", African Press Agency, June 3, 2007.
  25. ^ "Législatives au Sénégal: 38% de participation, l'opposition conteste", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), June 4, 2007 (French).
  26. ^ "Le Front Siggil Sénégal demande l'annulation des élections législatives", Xinhua (Jeuneafrique.com), June 4, 2007 (French).
  27. ^ "Senegal : ruling coalition wins 131 out of 150 seats in parliament", African Press Agency, June 7, 2007.
  28. ^ "SENEGAL-LEGISLATIVES-Les résultats provisoires des élections législatives", Agence du Presse Senegalaise (Seneweb.com), June 7, 2007 (French).
  29. ^ "Sénégal: un technocrate nommé au poste de Premier ministre", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), June 19, 2007 (French).
  30. ^ "Sénégal: nouveau gouvernement sans grand changement, opposition absente", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), June 20, 2007 (French).