Abdoulaye Wade (born 29 May 1926) is a Senegalese politician
who was President of
Senegal from 2000 to 2012. He is also the
Secretary-General of the
Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), having led
the party since it was founded in 1974. A long-time opposition
leader, he ran for President four times, beginning in 1978, before he
was elected in 2000. He won re-election in 2007 with a majority in
the first round, but in 2012 he was defeated in a controversial bid
for a third term.
1 Early life
2 Political career
2.1 2000 election and first term
2.2 2007 election and second term
2.3 2012 election for third term
5 Personal life
6.1 Foreign honours
Wade was born in Kébémer, Senegal; officially, he was born in
1926, although some claim he was born several years earlier, and
the record-keeping of the time is not considered particularly
reliable. He studied and taught law at the lycée Condorcet in
France. He holds two doctorates in law and economics. He was also dean
of the law and economics faculty at the
University of Dakar
University of Dakar in
At a summit of the
Organization of African Unity
Organization of African Unity in
Mogadishu in 1974,
Wade told President
Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor that he wanted to start a
new party, and Senghor agreed to this. The PDS was founded on 31 July
1974. The party—initially intended as a Labour party—adopted
liberalism in 1976 due to the introduction of a law permitting the
existence of only three parties with three distinct ideologies, two of
which were taken by other parties (liberalism was therefore the only
remaining option). Wade first ran for President in February 1978
against Senghor, taking 17.38% of the vote. Senghor gave Wade the
nickname "Diombor" (Wolof for hare). Also in 1978, Wade was
elected to the National Assembly, where he served until 1980. Wade
attracted international attention in the wake of Senghor's
announcement in late 1980 that he would resign; as the Secretary
General of the PDS, he issued a statement denouncing the process and
calling instead for the army to oversee a new set of elections.
Subsequently he ran in the presidential elections of 1983 and 1988,
taking second place each time, behind Senghor's successor Abdou
Diouf. Following the 1988 election, he was arrested due to
protests against the results and received a suspended sentence.
Subsequently he went to France, but returned in 1990.
In April 1991, Wade and four other PDS members joined a national unity
government together with the ruling Socialist Party (PS); Wade became
Minister of State without portfolio. In October 1992, he and
the other PDS ministers quit the government due to complaints about
the manner in which the PS was said to control the government. In
the February 1993 presidential election, Wade again took second place,
with 32% of the vote, behind Diouf, who won with 58%.
Following the May 1993 killing of Constitutional Council
Vice-President Babacar Sèye, Wade, along with other PDS leaders,
faced police questioning. On October 1, Wade, his wife, and
two PDS members of the National Assembly (Abdoulaye Faye and Ousmane
Ngom), were charged with complicity in the murder, although they were
not held in custody or put on trial. Following riots in February
1994, Wade was arrested along with many others for allegedly
threatening state security. The charge of complicity in Sèye's murder
was dismissed in May 1994, and Wade and his co-defendants began a
hunger strike on June 30. He and his co-defendants were released on
July 4, and the remaining charges were dismissed on August 30,
Wade rejoined the government as Minister of State in March 1995, but
he and the other PDS ministers left again in March 1998. Although
he was elected to the National Assembly in the February 1998
parliamentary election, he announced his resignation from the National
Assembly in late July 1998, saying that there were "enough deputies to
do the job in my place".
2000 election and first term
Wade and the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, in 2005.
Wade subsequently spent a year in France, returning to
October 27, 1999. In the first round of the 2000 presidential
election, held on February 27, he again took second place, receiving
31% of the vote, but for the first time, Diouf did not win a first
round majority, and consequently a second round was held on March
19. Wade won this round with 58.49% of the vote, having
received the support of candidates from the first round, including
third place candidate Moustapha Niasse. Wade became President on April
1, 2000 and appointed Niasse as his Prime Minister shortly
afterwards. Wade initially cohabited with the PS, which held a
majority in the legislature until the PDS and its allies (the Sopi
Coalition) won a majority in the April 2001 parliamentary election.
A new constitution was adopted in 2001, reducing presidential terms to
five years following the completion of Wade's seven-year term in
2007 election and second term
President of the United States
President of the United States
George W. Bush
George W. Bush in July 2003
At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009
Lula da Silva
Lula da Silva and Wade, in April 2005.
On October 15, 2006, Wade was nominated as presidential candidate of
the PDS for the February 2007 presidential election. One of Wade's
opponents in this election was his former prime minister Idrissa Seck,
who was once considered Wade's protégé, but was arrested in
2005. Final results released on March 11, 2007, showed Wade
winning in the first round with 55.9% of the vote, far ahead of his
nearest opponents, Seck with about 15% and Socialist Party leader
Ousmane Tanor Dieng
Ousmane Tanor Dieng with about 13.6%. Dieng and another opposition
candidate, Abdoulaye Bathily, filed appeals regarding the election,
but these were rejected by the Constitutional Council. Wade was
sworn in for his second term on April 3 at the Leopold Sedar Senghor
Stadium in Dakar, with many African leaders and about 60,000
spectators in attendance.
The main opposition parties did not accept Wade's 2007 victory and
disputed his legitimacy as President; they boycotted elections to the
National Assembly and the re-established Senate later in the year.
Wade conclusively stated in an interview published by Le Soleil on May
19, 2008 that there was no longer any possibility of dialogue with the
opposition unless it recognized him as the legitimate President. "Let
them do what they want, it doesn't bother me," he said of the
opposition, "so long as they respect law and order."
At the July 2007
African Union summit in Accra, Ghana, Wade supported
quick formation of the proposed
United States of Africa
United States of Africa and said: "If
we fail to unite, we will become weak, and if we live isolated in
countries that are divided, we face the risk of collapsing in the face
of stronger and united economies."
2012 election for third term
Main article: Senegalese presidential election, 2012
In July 2008, the National Assembly approved a constitutional
amendment increasing the length of the presidential term to seven
years, as it was prior to the adoption of the 2001 constitution. This
extension would not apply to Wade's 2007–2012 term, but Minister of
Justice Madické Niang stressed on this occasion that Wade could
potentially run for re-election in 2012 if he was still healthy.
Later, on September 17, 2009, Wade confirmed that he planned to run
for a third term in 2012 "if God gives me a long life".
Wade, during a 14 July 2011 speech to supporters, used the Wolof
language "Ma waxoon waxeet" ("I said it, I (can) take it back") in
explaining his decision to go back on his 2007 pledge not to run for
another term. The phrase subsequently became a popular rallying
cry for the anti-Wade opposition.
On January 27, 2012,
Abdoulaye Wade was officially approved by the
Constitutional Council to run for a highly controversial third term.
Following this declaration, enraged mobs engaged in violent protests
throughout the city. After the first round vote, Abdoulaye Wade
acknowledged on 27 February 2012 that he had failed to win a majority
in the election and would have to face a run-off. He subsequently
lost the second round of voting, held on 25 March 2012, to the
opposition candidate Macky Sall; Sall had received the backing of all
of the candidates who were defeated in the first round, and he
defeated Wade by a wide margin. Sall succeeded Wade as President on 2
Following his defeat in the presidential election, Wade remained at
the helm of the PDS, even as a number of the party's key figures
abandoned it. He chose not to stand as a candidate for the July 2012
parliamentary election. The PDS won 12 seats in the vote, marking a
tremendous decrease in the party's parliamentary representation, but
Wade nevertheless said that he viewed the outcome as encouraging. He
said that, contrary to expectations from some quarters that the PDS
would disappear after losing power, it had emerged from the vote as
the largest opposition party and the only one with enough seats to
form a parliamentary group.
In 2015, despite being close to his 90th birthday, Wade brushed aside
suggestions that he should retire, arguing that no credible younger
men had come along to succeed him as head of the PDS and that his
parents both lived and worked to an advanced age.
In the July 2017 parliamentary election, Wade planned to stand as a
candidate at the head of the candidate list of an opposition
coalition. Khalifa Sall, another prominent opposition leader, and his
supporters decided to run separately due to disagreement about whether
Wade or Sall should receive the top spot on the candidate
list. The divided opposition performed poorly in the election;
the coalition backing President Sall won 125 seats, a majority, while
Wade's coalition trailed distantly in second place with 19 seats. As
the top candidate on his coalition's candidate list, Wade himself won
a seat, although he had no intention of actually serving as a Deputy;
he announced his resignation on 10 September 2017, before the National
Assembly even began meeting. He explained that his purpose in running
was merely to support his coalition in the election.
See also: Senegalese presidential election, 2012
Abdoulaye Wade was internationally praised for his handling of the
2012 presidential election. In the aftermath of his defeat, Wade
congratulated his opponent on his victory and peacefully stepped down.
Wade's quick concession was praised by the African Union, European
United Nations and the United States. It was pointed out that
the leaders ruling some of Senegal's neighbors (including Guinea,
Gambia and Guinea-Bissau) had all previously used the army to maintain
their grasp on power. Because of this, Wade is considered among
the rare African leaders who are committed to democracy.
Wade's presidency was marred by allegations of corruption, nepotism
and constraints on freedom of the press and other civil
He was also criticized for excessive spending on what have been
described as "prestige projects". This includes commissioning a
160+ foot bronze statue (the African Renaissance Monument), for which
Wade claims he is entitled to 35% of all tourist profits it generates
because of the intellectual property for conceiving the idea.
In a parallel controversy, Wade has been criticized by Christian
Senegal for publicly denying the divinity of Jesus Christ,
comparing him to the statues found in the African Renaissance
Monument, after local imams expressed their opposition to the
monument. He later regretted that his comments had caused
religious offense to Christians.
Wade also received criticism in 2009 for a "goodbye present" he
reportedly gave to a departing IMF official after the two had dinner.
The present turned out to be a bag of money worth almost
US$200,000. Widespread speculation and criticism centered on the
possibility that Wade was grooming his son Karim to succeed him.
Wade is married to Viviane Wade. Their son, Karim Wade, served as head
of the national agency of the Islamic Organization Conference and
subsequently was Minister of State for International Cooperation,
Urban and Regional Planning, Air Transport, and Infrastructure from
2009 to 2012. Their daughter, Sindjely Wade, worked as a Special
Assistant to the President and has participated in many Paris-Dakar
In March 2012, Wade announced plans to go to
Saudi Arabia for a
France : Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour
Monaco : Grand Cross of the
Order of Saint-Charles
Order of Saint-Charles (9
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Abdoulaye Wade.
^ Laura Bush hosts
Viviane Wade The White House, December 6, 2004.
Retrieved March 2, 2007
^ Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders, page
^ a b World Leaders 2003: Senegal: Personal Background, Encyclopedia
of the Nations. Retrieved February 28, 2007
^ Nossiter, Adam (January 27, 2012). "
Senegal Court Says President Can
Run Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
^ a b c d Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders
(2003), page 457.
^ a b "Profile of Wade" (in French). PDS. Archived from the original
on October 8, 2009.
^ Naomi Schwarz, "Senegal's President Seeks Re-Election Amid Worsening
Problems", VOA News, October 16, 2006. Retrieved June 26, 2007.[dead
^ Dominique Mataillet, "Senghor reconnaît le parti de Wade" Archived
2008-02-23 at the Wayback Machine., Jeuneafrique.com, August 6, 2006
Retrieved July 4, 2007. (in French).
^ a b Tidiane Dioh, "Sous l'étiquette libérale" Archived 2008-02-23
at the Wayback Machine., Jeuneafrique.com, October 21, 2002. Retrieved
July 4, 2007. (in French).
^ a b c d e Elections in Senegal, African Elections Database.
^ Norimitsu Onishi (April 10, 2002). "Senegalese Loner Works to Build
Africa, His Way". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13,
^ "Zoom Abdoulaye Wade, l’éternel opposant"[permanent dead link],
L'Humanité, February 29, 2000. Retrieved January 13, 2009 (in
^ "Senghor to Resign". The [Monrovia] Redeemer 1980-12-04: 8.
^ a b c d Richard Vengroff and Lucy Creevey, "Senegal: The Evolution
of a Quasi Democracy", in Political Reform in Francophone Africa
(1997), ed. Clark and Gardinier, pages 207–208.
^ a b "Rapport des Missions d'Observations des Elections
Presidentielles", 2000 election Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback
Machine. (in French).
^ a b
Senegal Human Rights Practices, 1993, U.S. Department of State.
Senegal Human Rights Practices, 1994, U.S. Department of State.
Archived January 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "GABON: Ruling party seeks Bongo re-election", IRIN-WA Update 259 of
Events in West Africa, 25–27 July 1998. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
^ "Senegal: Opposition leader Wade returns to Dakar", AFP
(nl.newsbank.com), October 28, 1999. Retrieved January 23, 2008.
^ "Senegal: Opposition leader Wade to meet colleagues on election
France Internationale (nl.newsbank.com), October 28,
1999. Retrieved January 23, 2008.
^ a b "Senegal's Wade names prime minister", Reuters, April 2, 2000.
Retrieved February 12, 2007.[dead link]
Senegal elections set for 25 February 2007" Archived 3 March 2016
at the Wayback Machine., Liberal International, Issue 35.
^ "Wade nominated for February 2007 presidential elections". African
Press Agency. October 16, 2006. Archived from the original on December
22, 2007. Retrieved February 16, 2007.
^ "President’s onetime protégé to run for election", IRIN, April
5, 2006. Retrieved February 16, 2007.
^ "Le texte intégral de la décision du Conseil constitutionnel"
[Full text of the decisions of the Constitutional Council].
Seneweb.com (in French). Agence de Presse Sénégalaise. March 11,
2007. Archived from the original on May 20, 2007. Retrieved March 12,
^ "Senegal's president is inaugurated, as dictators, statesmen look
on", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), April 3, 2007.
Retrieved April 3, 2007.[dead link]
^ "Wade sworn in for second term", AFP (IOL), April 3, 2007. Retrieved
April 4, 2007 (subscription required)[dead link]
^ "Wade: For me, it's over!", Sapa-AFP (IOL), May 20, 2008. Retrieved
August 11, 2008. (subscription required)[dead link]
^ Mamadou Ndiaye (July 3, 2007). "Wade criticises gradual approach to
set up AU Government". African Press Agency. Archived from the
original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved July 4, 2007.
Senegal approves presidential term extension", afrol News, July 30,
2007. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
^ "Elderly Wade eyes third term", AFP (IOL), September 18, 2009.
Retrieved September 18, 2009. (subscription required)[dead link]
^ ""Ma waxoon waxeet": une glissade ou un style politique?". Sud
Online. February 8, 2011. Archived from the original on August 16,
2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
Moustapha Niasse et Tanor Dieng face à l'histoire et à leur
peuple, feront-ils honneur ou honte à nos attentes?". Sud Online.
October 25, 2011. Archived from the original on October 27, 2011.
Retrieved October 30, 2011.
^ ""Ma Waxoon, Waxeet", l'expression qui fait tendance à Dakar".
Seneweb.com. July 18, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
^ "Mouvement "Y en a marre" au Sénégal: Tiken Jah les a inspires".
L'expression (Abidjan). July 28, 2011. Retrieved October 31,
^ "Le Conseil constitutionnel accepte la candidature de Me Wade" [The
Constitutional Council accepted Wade's candidacy]. Seneweb.com. APS.
January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
^ "Senegal's president says he'll face run-off". CNN. February 27,
2012. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
^ "Le PDS sort "grandi" des élections législatives, dit Abdoulaye
Wade" (in French). Agence de Presse Sénégalaise. July 5, 2012.
Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved July 15,
^ Aislinn Laing, "Senegal's former president defends aged leaders: 'My
father worked until 105'", The Telegraph, 11 June 2015.
^ "Sénégal : l’ancien président Wade candidat aux
législatives", Le Monde, 30 May 2017 (in French).
^ Benjamin Roger, "Législatives sénégalaises : la coalition de
Abdoulaye Wade sur le retour", Jeune Afrique,
30 May 2017 (in French).
^ "Sénégal :
Abdoulaye Wade démissionne de son poste de
député à l’Assemblée Nationale", Jeune Afrique, 11 September
2017 (in French).
^ Rukmini Callimachi. "Analysis: In Senegal, a weighty phone call".
Google News. Associated Press. Retrieved April 1, 2012. [dead
^ a b Larson, Krista (March 27, 2012). "
Senegal opposition candidate
wins presidential vote in landslide". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
Retrieved April 1, 2012. [dead link]
^ "Analysts ponder Senegalese President's Legacy", Voice of America,
March 2, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2008.[dead link]
^ Daniel Flynn,"Reggae star Fakoly tells Senegal's Wade 'leave
power'", Reuters, December 13, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2008.
Senegal sacks minister for overspending",
Reuters (IOL), August 9,
2008. Retrieved August 12, 2008.[dead link]
^ "Senegal: President builds $27 million statue, claims tourism
profits over 'intellectual rights.'" Retrieved October 7, 2009
^ Sénégal : Me
Abdoulaye Wade attaque les statues, l’Eglise
catholique irritée Archived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
Senegal President Wade apologises for Christ comments". BBC News.
December 31, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
Senegal admits IMF 'money gift'". BBC News. October 27, 2009.
Retrieved October 30, 2009.
^ Hamadou Tidiane Sy, "Wade admits succession plan with son likely
choice", Daily Nation (Kenya), August 6, 2008. Retrieved November 24,
^ Nomination by OpenDocument Sovereign Ordonnance n°2.457 of 9th
November 2009 (French)
President of Senegal
Alpha Oumar Konaré
Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States
Léopold Sédar Senghor
Candidates in the 2007 Senegalese presidential election
Mamadou Lamine Diallo
Ousmane Tanor Dieng
Cheikh Bamba Dièye
Mama Adama Guèye
Louis Jacques Senghor
ISNI: 0000 0001 2117 2571
BNF: cb12123195j (data