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Corruption scandals and violations of human rights dominated the political discourse. Debates on constitutional reform, particularly the reduction of the presidential term, and the forthcoming presidential elections resulted in infighting between and within political parties. In foreign affairs, Sall continued Senegal’s role as a major regional actor in a number of fields such as terrorism and migration.

At the midpoint of his first term, President Macky Sall went through a difficult time. The few achievements in the socio-economic field (falls in the price of staple foods and the cost of rent, the overfunding of the ‘Plan Sénégal Émergent’ (pse), and the revival of the peace process in Casamance) did not compensate for the disruptive return of former president Wade, the controversies over the trial of Wade’s son, rumours of nepotism in the presidential entourage, divisions within the presidential coalition, and growing social unrest.

The first year of Macky Sall’s presidency, which began in March 2012, was widely scrutinised. Following the euphoria of his triumphant election, the Senegalese population attributed great importance to the improvement of their living conditions. After his electoral promises to instil a new morality in the political arena and adopt social reforms, Sall was challenged to prove that he could break out of the controversial mode of government of his predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade. The international community warmly welcomed his commitment to ‘good governance’ and Senegal’s restored international image allowed Sall to engage in active diplomacy at the sub-regional and international levels. However, his ambitious economic policies met with uneven success, and the government struggled with the improvement of living conditions and unemployment issues.