PASTEF-led government in Senegal: Continuity or Rapture?

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By: Prof. Alhagi Manta Drammeh

The new administration to be installed in Senegal today would impose new realities on the politics and society of Senegal and the region as a whole. The fundamental question that has been raised often is whether the new government under President Bassirou Diomaye Faye would be continuity of the policies and politics of the preceding government under president Malick Sall or make a rapture with it?

Seemingly, it would not be business as usual in Senegal. Certainly, the new administration would continue with policies of development and infrastructural improvement. Although the president-elect did not highlight the trajectory of the foreign policy under him, it is clear that it would be recalibrated towards new partners while keeping normal relations with traditional partners. It is expected that Senegal would play a positive role in the regional ECOWAS group.

It is not clear whether Senegal’s new government would keep its troops in the Gambia, as it would focus on domestic politics to improve livelihoods of the ordinary people. This includes creation of opportunities for the youth and the marginlised. The new government is expected to do a lot in terms of stopping irregular migration to Europe that has claimed the lives of thousands in Senegal and many thousands in other parts of Africa. It is a topic of great concern. I suspect that it will create a new social policy to encourage inclusion and social justice. However, the new government in Senegal would do its best to keep good relations with its neighbors like the Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania.

It seems that the new government has come with a package of reform in all the domains particularly in economics and the relationship between domestic politics and foreign relations. One can foresee that there will be a drastic change in terms of bilateral trade arrangements and agreements so that the ordinary people of Senegal can benefit from the abundant natural resources that the country is endowed with. Now Senegal exports natural gas and has become a member of the global organisation.

The other most asked question is the role that Osman Sonko would play in the new administration. Osman Sonko is a heavy weight in the political dynamics of Senegal and cannot be underrated or excluded. There are many scenarios in which Sonko can be a part of the new government. Some speculate that he may be the next Prime Minister of Senegal on one hand, to effectively implement the programmes that they have laid for the development of Senegal and the onslaught on corruption and cronyism. Others argue that he may be the next speaker of the National assembly of Senegal (Parliament) on the other. There is also a possibility of him being appointed Special Advisor to the President. Whatever the case, Sonko would be at the heart of Senegalese government for many years to come. There is every possibility that he would stand as the presidential candidate of PASTEF in the next presidential election after the first mandate of Faye. In addition, he is the Leader of PASTEF the most powerful party in Senegal today with a popular mandate to rule Senegal.

There would be interesting developments in Senegalese politics under President Faye. The country would witness a great transformation in its political trajectory nationally, regionally, and internationally. We wish the new President of the Republic of Senegal all the best. May Allah bless him.

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