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Senegal

Yearbook 1999

Senegal. According to Countryaah official website, the election to the Senate in January was boycotted by most opposition parties, and the ruling Socialist du Sénégal (PS) party won all 45 seats. That same month, President Abdou Diouf and Father Augustine Diamacoune Senghor, leader of the separatist movement Mouvement des forces democratiques de Casamance (MFDC), met for the first time. This was followed by several contacts between the separatists and the government. In May, the regime promised new investments and a mine clearance program in the southern province. The MFDC, for its part, decided at a conference in Gambia's capital Banjul in June to start peace talks with the government. But the MFDC is fragmented, and from the faction that has been behind most of the attacks over the past two years, only a small crowd participated.

1999 Senegal

In the spring, Senegal withdrew its soldiers from Guinea-Bissau, where they were sent to the defense of President Vieira's regime the year before. A parliamentary report in the neighboring country in April stated that several officers from Vieira's inner circle had been involved in arms smuggling to the MFDC rebels. From the Senegalese regime there was no public reaction to this information.

The upcoming presidential election in February 2000 raised the political temperature in the country. Former Foreign Minister Moustapha Niasse claimed at the beginning of the year that the ruling PS was led by a small corrupt click and strongly criticized the appointment of General Abdoulaye Dieng, a leading supporter of President Diouf, as president of the Election Commission. Niasse was excluded because of this from PS. In May, 14 opposition parties merged and demanded Dieng's departure and changes to the electoral system. One of the opposition protests in Dakar in June led to a violent clash between protesters and police.

Niasse formed a new party in July. He, along with another defeated top politician from PS and Abdoulaye Wade, leader of the largest opposition party, was considered one of Diouf's main contenders for the presidential post. Diouf started an intense election campaign as early as autumn 1999.

Peace talks with the MFDC led to a ceasefire agreement concluded at the end of December. The parties also agreed to meet for regular consultations each month. As a gesture of reconciliation, President Diouf released forty imprisoned MFDC rebels on New Year's Eve.

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