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Who is Senegal’s new president-elect?

Mar 27, 2012, 2:25 PM

Macky Sall was born December 11, 1961 in the provincial town of Fatick.  After his early primary education in Fatick, he went to Lycée Gaston Berger in Kaolack where he gained Baccalauréat C in Mathematics and Physics. In 1988 Macky gained a Diploma in Engineering Geologist Design (DIG) at the Cheick Anta Diop University Institute of Earth Sciences (IST) in Dakar with Honours.

Two years later, in 1990, he gained his Certificate of Advanced Studies (AEA) Hydrogeology from the Department of Geology at the same Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) again with honours.

He also did his Thesis: “Study of pozzolanicity volcanic materials of the peninsula of Cape Verde - Example Udders of volcanism.”

From October 1992  to June  1993: Mr Sall gained a degree in  Geophysics Option at the Ecole Nationale Superieure du Petrole et des Moteurs (IFP School) of the French Petroleum Institute (IFP)  in the French capital city of Paris.

After his studies, Mr Sall came back home to serve his country and landed a job  as Chief of the Division of Data Bank at the Society of Petroleum Senegal (PETROSEN) in Dakar between 1 April 1994 to 12 December 2000.

Earlier Political career and how he rose through the ranks:

Macky Sall was constantly working underground as recruiter of support for the PDS party of Abdoulaye Wade since his days at Cheikh Anta Diop.

He became Secretary-General of the PDS Regional Convention in Fatick in 1998 and served as the PDS National Secretary in charge of Mines and Industry. 

When the PDS with coalition partners won elections against then President Abdu Joof, Sall was elevated by then newly sworn-in President Abdoulaye Wade as Special Advisor to President for Energy and Mines from April 6, 2000 to May 12, 2001, as well as Director-General of the Petroleum Company of Senegal (Société des Pétroles du Sénégal, PETROSEN) from December 13, 2000 to July 5, 2001.

He became Minister of Mines, Energy and Hydraulics on May 12, 2001, and he was promoted to the rank of Minister of State, while retaining his portfolio on November 6, 2002. He additionally became the Mayor of his home town of Fatick on June 1, 2002.

On August 27, 2003, Sall was promoted from his position as Minister of State for Mines, Energy and Hydraulics to that of Minister of State for Interior and Local Communities while also becoming Government Spokesman.

He was then appointed as Prime Minister by President Wade on April 21, 2004, when his predecessor Idrissa Seck was dismissed. Four days later, on April 25, 2004, Idrissa Seck became Vice-President of the PDS Party’s Steering Committee.

Sall served as the director of Wade’s re-election campaign for the February 2007 Presidential election in which Wade was victorious, obtaining a majority in the first round. But after Wade was sworn in, Sall submitted his resignation on April 10, President Wade immediately reappointed him as Prime Minister, with the government unchanged.

Macky Sall’s Removal as Prime Minister and Events Leading to his fall with President Wade

Sall and Wade came into open conflict in 2007. After Senegal’s Parliamentary election which was held on 3 June 2007, Sall was elected to the National Assembly as a candidate on the national list of the Sopi Coalition.

Meanwhile his boss began to get worried with increasing popularity of this young politician.

After the election, Wade appointed Minister Delegate for the Budget Cheick Hadjibou Soumare as Prime Minister on June 19, 2007 thus replacing Macky Sall, who had resigned along with his government shortly beforehand due to rumours that the young Prime Minister felt he no longer shines in the old man’s good books. Sall said that he was proud of what he had accomplished as Prime Minister.

Sall was elected as President of the National Assembly one day later, on June 20, 2007; he was the only candidate and received 143 votes from the 146 deputies present. But the duo’s secret political rivalry soon blew up in the open when Sall called Wade’s son Karim Wade (the old man’s heir apparent) who was then the President of the National Agency of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), for a hearing in the National Assembly regarding construction sites in Dakar for the OIC Summit planned to take place there in March 2008.

This was perceived by Wade and his close aides as an attempt by Sall to weaken Karim Wade’s position and possibly influence the eventual presidential succession in his own favour as the deputy Secretary General of the ruling PDS Party, thus provoking the open enmity of Wade and his loyalists within the PDS. Wade has to act and fast he must.

In November 2007, the PDS Steering Committee abolished the position of Deputy Secretary-General, which had been the second most powerful position in the party, and they also went ahead to submit a bill to the National Assembly that would reduce the term of the President of the National Assembly from five years to one year.

Following the death of the Mourides religious leader Serigne Salieu Mbacké (May 1915 – December 28, 2007) in late December 2007, El Hadji Serigne Mouhamadou Lamine Bara Mbacké who succeeded Serigne Salieu Mbacké as Caliph general of the Mourides movement after the death of his uncle asked Wade to forgive Sall; Wade then met with Sall and the two were said to have made peace in early January 2008.

But that reunion seems to many as only pleasing the New Caliph as both Wade and Sall as well-known talibes of the Mouride brotherhood. Sall nevertheless remained at odds with the determined PDS leadership.

In September 2008, PDS deputies again went ahead and presented the bill to reduce the term of the President of the National Assembly to one year and on October 13, 2008, the National Assembly voted to reduce the term of the President of the National Assembly; this was approved by President Wade eight day later on October 21.

As if not enough, later in the month, Sall was called before the PDS Disciplinary Committee although he did not appear, on this occasion, Sall was accused of divisive personal initiatives within the party; he also allegedly committed “acts aimed at undermining the image of the party and country”, referring in particular to Sall’s visits to the French Senate in Paris and the United States 2008 Democratic National Convention which Sall attended.

The Leadership was hell bent on disciplining him. But Sall was ready to fight back. A statement released by Sall’s political adviser condemned the move to discipline Sall as an “attempt at political liquidation”.

Despite Sall’s determined efforts to maintain his position, the National Assembly voted to dismiss him as President of the National Assembly on November 9, 2008. There were 111 votes in favour of his removal and 22 against it.

This time Macky Sall felt there was no option but to leave the party he fought so much for many years. He promptly announced that he was resigning from the PDS in November 2008 but this decision meant that he would lose his seat in the National Assembly, as well as his seat on Fatick’s municipal council and his post as Mayor of Fatick.

But he was determined to move ahead with such move. He announced that he would create a new party. Mamadou Seck was elected to replace Sall as President of the National Assembly that same month on November 16, 2008.

Macky Sall in the Opposition:

Sall founded his own party, Alliance pour la république (APR); the Alliance for the Republic – (locally called Yakaar in Wolof) in early December 2008. The new political party positions itself as a party whose sole interest is one word “Senegal, its future” and has Mr Alioune Badara Cisse as assistant.

It was reported on Walfadjri news as thus: Former Speaker of the Assembly has finished get rid of the tutelage of his former mentor Wade. After resigning from the PDS, Macky Sall has created yesterday his party, called the Alliance for the Republic / Yakaar. The boss of the new party that reaches out to all Senegalese knows that things will not be easy.

Therefore Macky Sall chose the strength and endurance of the horse as his symbol.

In a dramatic move as if Wade still fears the popularity of this young poular, on January 26, 2009 Wade’s Interior Ministry accused Sall of money laundering and commenced proceedings to have him goaled.

Sall denied allegations and said that the accusation was politically motivated. In late February 2009 it was decided not to prosecute Sall due to lack of evidence

Following the March 2009 elections in Fatick, Sall was re-elected to his former post as Mayor in April 2009. He received 44 votes from a 45 municipal councillors present; the Sopi Coalition’s five councillors were not present for the vote.

Macky Sall seems unstoppable now since then. He moved from strength to strength and this year presidential election he formed what is called “Coalition “Macky 2012” an alliance that nearly broke the old man’s political back bone.

During campaigns in the first rounds, Presidential candidate for “Coalition Macky 2012” who is no other than Macky Sall himself said in Touba rally (capital of the Mourides), that all MPs and ministers will vote for him as he stood for the  future of Senegal.

Small profile of Macky Sall

Political Activity:

• Member of the National Secretariat of the PDS as National Secretary of Mines and Industry

• Chairman of the Strategies and Initiatives Unit since 1998;

 Secretary General of the Regional Convention of the PDS Fatick since 1998;

• Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors since April 25, 2004.


• President of the Association of Engineers Geologists graduates of the Institute of Earth Sciences (AIG

 Member of the Association of Geophysicists Africans

 Member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG);

 Member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)


• Pular (Native)

• Wolof.



Family Life:

Married to Madame Marieme Faye with three children.