Election Snapshot

Elections in Senegal: 2024 Presidential Elections


The Republic of Senegal will hold presidential elections on Sunday, March 24, 2024, when citizens will vote to elect a new president for a five-year term. The elections were originally scheduled for February 25, but on February 3, the eve of the campaign period, President Macky Sall postponed elections over concerns with the candidates list. This decision by the president was unprecedented and brought both internal and international condemnation. After weeks of back and forth between the different branches of government on a new date, President Sall announced on March 6 the new date of March 24, which was accepted by the Constitutional Council.  

This election saw 93 candidates submit their candidature, with a total of 19 candidates ultimately confirmed. This is the largest number of candidates in Senegal's history, and it will also be the first presidential election without the incumbent running.       

Ahead of this important electoral process, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Elections in Senegal: 2024 Presidential Election.   

Learn more about IFES's programs in Senegal and follow @IFES1987 and @IFESAfrica on Twitter. 

Additionally, visit IFES's Election Guide for the most comprehensive and timely verified election information available online. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Senegal is often cited as a beacon of democracy in West Africa’s turbulent environment. However, on February 3, 2024, President Macky Sall issued an unprecedented decree postponing the presidential election scheduled for February 25 indefinitely, citing concerns over its credibility due to accusations of corruption against the Constitutional Council following the announcement of its approved list of candidates for the election.  

Senegal had never postponed its elections, and many called this event a constitutional coup by a president unwilling to give up power for himself or his party.  This is not the first time President Sall, who is completing his second term in office, has wavered on giving up power. Early in the election cycle, he remained ambiguous about plans to run for a divisive third term. Sall eventually announced on July 4, 2023, that he would not run in 2024 but he is clearly playing a role in shaping the presidential race.  

On February 5, members of the National Assembly legalized the postponement of the election, set the new election date for December 15, 2024, and extended the president’s mandate through April 2. However, the police removed over 30 opposition Members of the National Assembly before the vote, calling into question the legitimacy of the vote and its results. After the vote, 14 presidential candidates and 39 Members of the National Assembly filed a complaint with the Constitutional Council. Facing widespread condemnation by members of Senegalese society and the international community, President Sall continued to justify his decision by claiming the need to hold a second national dialogue, following one in mid-2023, to improve the relationship between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council.  

On February 15, the Constitutional Council issued a historic and unexpected decision that cancelled the presidential decree postponing the election. The council declared that the election must be held as soon as possible and before the expiration of the presidential mandate in April. President Sall agreed to respect the council’s decision and began a two-day national dialogue on February 26. Boycotted by most political factions, the dialogue included only Sall and two other candidates.  

The recommendations were submitted to the Constitutional Council, which rejected them on March 5. The following day, President Sall announced that the election would take place on March 24.  

These issues highlight democratic backsliding and shrinking political space for civil society organizations, political opposition, and media outlets, and restrictions on freedom of speech. This latest episode demonstrates the importance of the crucial principle of balance of powers and of solid democratic institutions that are resilient to anti-democratic forces. Therefore, this election is about more than just who will be the next president; it is about the health of Senegal’s democracy and its continued leadership in the region. 


This election will see the highest number of candidates running in a presidential election ever seen in Senegal with 19 candidates on the ballot, including the current and former prime ministers, a local mayor, businessmen and women, a member of the National Assembly and journalists among others.  


Presidential elections in Senegal are organized through a majoritarian system with two possible rounds of voting. A candidate who receives 50 percent or more of the vote is deemed the winner. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, there will be a second-round runoff election between the two candidates who received the most votes. 


Those who wish to run for president must exclusively hold Senegalese citizenship, be at least 35 years old on election day, and must not have been convicted of a felony.  


Campaigning for presidential elections begins 21 days before the election. However, due to the abrupt postponement and rescheduling of the 2024 election, campaigning was limited to 14 days. The campaign period began on March 9 and will end on March 22, with a full day of campaign silence the day before election day. 


Senegal has a dual structure for election management and oversight. The election management body is the Ministry of Interior, which organizes national and local elections and referenda through the Directorate General for Elections (DGE). In the field, administrative authorities are responsible for the organization of elections. 

The Electoral Code defines the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA) as a permanent and autonomous body responsible for monitoring Senegal’s elections. The CENA is composed of 12 neutral and independent members appointed by presidential decree after consultations with various institutions. Members hold six-year terms, and one-third of the membership is renewed every three years. CENA has additional representatives at all levels, and its members are present at every polling station on voting days.  


Registered voters throughout the national territory and overseas are able to vote in the presidential election so long as they are 18 years or older by election day. However, due to the postponement of the 2024 election, only those who turned 18 before February 25, 2024, are able to vote in this election.


The Electoral Code addresses accessibility for voters with disabilities, and local government authorities take measures to ensure compliance with this part of the code. Article 80 allows any voter with disabilities to request the assistance of a voter of her or his choice or a polling staff member to cast a ballot. Article 69 allows disabled voters who are unable to access their regular polling stations to vote at the closest accessible polling station in their voting location.  


Vote counting takes place in polling stations after the polls close. Polling staff open the ballot box and check the number of envelopes. Members of the polling staff then appoint, from among the voters present, at least four vote counters capable of reading and writing French, Senegal’s official language.  

One vote counter removes the ballot from each envelope and passes it to another vote counter, who reads it aloud. At least two vote counters record the names on the ballots, using sheets prepared for this purpose. All ballots are counted twice.  


Polling station results are tabulated at the district level. The national-level tally center (Commission Nationale des Recensement des Votes [CNRV]) tabulates votes from polling stations as it receives them and must publish the results no later than midnight on the Tuesday following voting (March 26), in accordance with Article 88 of the Electoral Code.  


The National Committee for the Counting of Votes will announce provisional results no later than midnight on the Friday following voting (March 29, 2024).  


The Constitutional Council is the judicial body responsible for adjudicating election disputes for presidential and legislative elections. The Council’s judgments are final as there is no appeal mechanism. 

Only candidates may lodge electoral complaints. Candidates may challenge electoral operations within 72 hours of the provisional proclamation of results by the CNRV. 


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Elections Support Program in Senegal aims to help civil society organizations facilitate dialogue, monitor elections, and conduct civic and voter education. The program also supports election management bodies to reinforce specific aspects of election administration to promote a fair and credible democratic process. 

As part of the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), IFES is working to build the capacity, inclusiveness, and independence of Senegal’s electoral institution, the Directorate General for Elections (Direction Générale des Élections, DGE), under the Ministry of Interior. IFES supports the DGE to strengthen its institutional capacity and enhance human resources, communications, training, and voter education. In addition, IFES has partnered with the Gorée Institute and three universities to create a network of youth peace ambassadors to promote peaceful electoral participation in 2024.


These FAQs reflect decisions made by the Constitution and Electoral Code to the best of our knowledge. This document does not represent any International Foundation for Electoral Systems policy or technical recommendations.  

These FAQs are made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The information herein is provided by the author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.