Senegal. In January, Senegal contributed to a change of power in neighboring Gambia. There, Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled the country more and more authoritatively since 1994, lost the election in December 2016 but refused to hand over power to the election’s winner, Adama Barrow. He applied to Senegal, where he chose to swear the presidential order at the Gambian embassy in Dakar the day after Jammeh’s term of office formally expired. According to Countryaah.com, the regional cooperation organization ECOWAS had threatened to intervene militarily, and troops from mainly Senegal also crossed the border into Gambia. The pressure on Jammeh became so great that he chose to step down and Adama Barrow could take over as president. In March, Barrow visited Senegalese President Macky Sall, marking the clearly improved relationship that emerged between the countries after Jammeh’s fall.
In January, the National Assembly approved a proposal to increase the number of seats from 150 to 165. The idea is that the 15 new members will represent the approximately 500,000 Senegalese living abroad. The opposition opposed the reform, claiming it was a waste of money. Parliamentary elections were held at the end of July following a messy election campaign measured by Senegalese measures. Several times the police used tear gas to stop the violence and dozens of people were arrested. The election itself became a new great success for the alliance led by President Sall, Benno Bokk Yakaar, who received close to half the votes and 125 of the 165 seats. Former President Abdoulaye Wade’s Alliance Winning Coalition Wattu Senegaal got 19 seats and Mankoo Taxawu Senegaal, led by Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall, got seven seats in parliament. In addition, eleven parties with individual mandates entered the National Assembly. In September, 91-year-old Wade announced that he was leaving his seat in Parliament, explaining that he was only running for election to attract votes for his party.
In April, the life sentence against Chad’s former dictator, Hissène Habré, was confirmed by a specially established court in Dakar. Thus, the president did not have a higher instance to appeal against. Habré was found guilty in 2016 of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture.