Abolished in 2019, the post of Senegalese Prime Minister will soon be restored by Macky Sall, who believes that this is the ideal solution to launch new reforms.
Less than two years after having abolished the post of Prime Minister, the Senegalese president is back pedaling. When announcing his reform in May 2019, Macky Sall had put forward the culture of results as an argument. "When we aspire to emergence and we are held by the imperative of the result, the urgency of the tasks to be accomplished requires diligence in the work", explained the Head of State who thus summarized his new role hyper-president: "What must be done today cannot be postponed until tomorrow".
It is clear that the arguments put forward by the Senegalese president, if they could be heard, were not enough to convince. And the head of state is the first to be convinced: removing the post was not the best thing to do.
Macky Sall in the footsteps of Léopold Sédar Senghor
An episode which is reminiscent of Léopold Sédar Senghor's waltz-hesitation in the early 1960s. It was through a referendum in 1963 that the former Senegalese president abolished the post of President of the Council - which is equivalent to the Prime Minister of today - with the same arguments as Macky Sall: to give back to the state the capacity to lead without risking blockage. Seven years later, Senghor organized a new referendum, this time to restore the head of government.
Macky Sall's initial idea nevertheless had the merit of raising the question of the legitimacy of the Prime Minister, a Franco-British invention. However, believe the researchers Aboubakr Tandia and Amy Niang, in Senegal as elsewhere, "the government teams are scaffolded and reshuffled on the basis of political interpretations of electoral performances, thus following a logic of rewards and sanctions of collaborators and allies".
By abolishing the post of Prime Minister, supported by the deputies, therefore, Macky Sall hoped to accelerate the reforms, what he succeeds to some extent. During his June tour, the Senegalese president inaugurated a wave of projects. However, Macky Sall also envisioned governance unrelated to the so-called rewards system. He also sought to ensure that the internal struggles within the ruling party did not take precedence over public affairs.
Objective: accelerate reforms
However, the deadlines awaiting the Senegalese president required a real reflection on the subject: it is indeed difficult for Macky Sall to take the presidency of the African Union in 2022 while managing alone the daily affairs of the Senegalese state.
According to our information, the return of the post of Prime Minister will not be effective until after the municipal elections in January. Several names are mentioned to take the prime: the media quote for example Amadou Ba, former Minister of Economy and Finance, and Foreign Affairs, but also Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation.
The fact remains that this choice is now more than symbolic: Senegal is facing a major social crisis, particularly related to the cost of living. In addition, the Prime Minister remains, for the populations, the number 2 of the State. One way to test a potential successor for the next presidential election? Before thinking about the upcoming election, great challenges await the future Prime Minister, who will have many priority files to manage.