Fights, insults, jostling … the return to parliament in Senegal last Monday, which devoted the election of the president of the National Assembly, took place in an atmosphere that can be described as anything but friendly. The elected representatives of the people went there for an unprecedented boxing match in the ring of the National Assembly. The gendarmes finally intervened in the hemicycle to calm the ardor.
The resumption of the 14th parliamentary term in Senegal has been very eventful. The hemicycle was indeed the scene of a fight between the parliamentary majority and the opponent. Nolens, volens, at the end of the vote boycotted by the opposition, Amadou Mame Diop of the presidential coalition Benno Bokk Yaakar (BBY), was elected new leader of the Senegalese parliament. Out of a total of 165 parliamentarians, the deputy-mayor of Richard-Toll, a town in the north of Senegal, who is not well known to many, was chosen by 83 of the 84 MPs who voted.
Thus, this episode of last Monday, announces a difficult tomorrow in the Senegalese parliament because, for the first time in ten years, the opposition occupies almost half the seats in a legislature. Macky Sall and his coalition have become accustomed to the comfort of an absolute majority in the National Assembly, with opponents reduced to the role of extras.
Another aspect of the new parliamentary configuration is the representation of women. In fact, 44% of the seats are held by women. This is a significant advance not yet achieved in any African country. This bodes well for women’s organizations in the country, which ranks fourth in Africa and 18th in the world for gender parity in parliament.
With this framework of the new Senegalese parliament, we can already expect very heated debates in the hemicycle. Unless both sides decide to find consensus to advance the parliamentary cause.