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Senegal’s 2019 presidential candidates

Short biographies of Senegal’s 2019 presidential election candidates Macky Sall, Idrissa Seck, Ousmane Sonko, Issa Sall and Madicke Niang.

The main opposition PDS (Democratic Party of Senegal) is boycotting the election since the party’s candidate Karim Wade (ex-president Wade’s son) was barred from contesting.

Election procedures

  • Election date: February 24 (11th presidential election since 1960 independence)
  • Official campaign period: February 3-22
  • Election agency: The Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA)
  • The National Audio-visual Regulatory Council (CNRA) regulates the public media during election campaigns
  • Presidential candidates must be older than 35 years, need
  • Presidential candidate fee USD $59 803
  • Every Senegalese citizen 18 and above is eligible to vote
  • Candidate list published on January 14 by the Constitutional Concil
  • Khalifa Sall (in prison for corruption) and Karim Wade excluding because of criminal records
  • The winner needs 50% + 1 to avoid a runoff election

Incumbent : President Macky Sall

  • Born on 11 December 1961 in Fatick, Senegal
  • Geological engineer & geophysicist
  • Married to Marieme Faye Sall
  • A former leading member of ex-president Wade’s party the Senegalese Democratic Party (SDP)
  • Director-General of the Senegal Petroleum Company (13 December 2000 to 5 July 2001)
  • Minister : Mines (2001-03) + Interior (2003-04)
  • Former Government Spokesperson
  • Adviser to President Wade (6 April 2000 to 12 May 2003)
  • Senegal Prime Minister (2004-07)
  • President of the National Assembly (2007-08)
  • The campaign manager for former president Wade’s 2007 presidential campaign
  • Mayor of his home town, Fatick from 2002-08 and 2009-12
  • Founded his own party the Alliance for the Republic–Yaakaar (APR) on 1 December 2008 after being fired as president of the National Assembly
  • Won 2012 presidential election with 65.80%

Twice defeated: Idrissa Seck

  • Born on 9 August 1960 in Thies, Senegal
  • The campaign manager for former president Wade in the 1988 election
  • Minister of Trade, Crafts, and Industrialisation (1995-1998)
  • Deputy leader of the then ruling PDS (1998-2004)
  • Mayor of Thies (2000-2004 & 2009-)
  • Minister of State and Director of the Cabinet (2000-2002)
  • Prime Minister (2002-2004)
  • Formed his own party Rewmi in September 2006 after being expelled from the ruling party
  • Contested in the 2007 (second with 15%) & 2012 presidential elections
  • Rejoined the ruling party in 2009 and later left again

The Outsider : Madicke Niang

  • Born 25 September 1953 in Saint Louis, Senegal
  • Degree in Law
  • Minister of Justice (2007-2009)
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs (2009-2012)
  • Minister of Housing (2002-2003)
  • Minister of Energy (2003-2004)
  • Minister of Mines & Industry (2006-2007)

The Academic: El Hadji Issa Sall

  • Born in 1956, Tattaguine, Senegal
  • Diploma in Electronics (University of Dakar)
  • MSc and PhD in Computer Science (George Washington University, USA)
  • IT Manager at Senelec (1981-86)
  • Former IT Manager at Weather Senegal (1981-86)
  • Computer Scientist at the African Regional Center for Technology (1986-87)
  • Director of Jet Informatique (1988-95)
  • A holder of a pilot license
  • Founded the private University of Sahel in 1998
  • Formed the Party of Unity and Assembly (PUR)
  • Member of the National Assembly since 2017
  • Vice-president of the Regional Council of Fatick (West) 

The Newcomer: Ousmane Sonko

  • Born on 15 July 1974 in Thies
  • Masters in Public Law (Gaston Berger University, 1999)
  • Diploma in Taxation (University of Dakar)
  • A former government tax inspector
  • Fired in 2016 after he became a whistle-blower
  • Formed his own party the Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF)
  • Member of the National Assembly since 2017

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