Socialist Party of Senegal

Published 10th January, 2012

The Socialist Party of Senegal or PSS was founded in 1958 but was part of the pre-war socialist movement in French West Africa. It started life as the Senegalese Progressive Union (UPS), but changed its name in 1976.

The party came to prominence in 1963 when its founder, LĂ©opold Sedar Senghor won the presidential election in 1963; he was the only candidate. Senghor then went on to stand uncontested in the 1968 and 1973 elections.

In 1978 Senghor was challenged by Abdoulaye Wade and his 100% record was reduced to 82.2% of the vote. In 1980 Senghor decided to retire and his chosen successor was Abdou Diouf. He won the 1983 election with 83.45% of the vote, but after that his vote kept on declining from 73.2% in 1988 to 58.4% in 1993. In 2000 Abdou Diouf lost the presidential election in the second round to Abdoulaye Wade, taking 41.51% of the vote.

The party has fared in similar ways to its leaders. Between 1959 and 1973 the party was unchallenged and took all seats in the 1963, 1968, and 1973 elections.

In the 1978 election they won 82 of the 100 seats in the National Assembly and in 1983 they won 111 of the 120 seats. From there the party started a long decline. In 1998 they took 103 of the 120 seats and in 1993 this dropped to 84 seats. In 1998 they took 93 seats but in an enlarged 140 seat National Assembly. In 2001 the party collapsed after the presidential loss the year before and they won just 10 seats in the 120 seat parliament.

Along with most other opposition parties, the Socialist Party of Senegal boycotted the 2007 general election.

The Socialist Party of Senegal is a member of Socialist International.

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