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Abdou Diouf

(b. 1935)

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(b. 7 Mar. 1935).

President of Senegal 1981–2000 Born in Louga, he was educated at the University of Dakar, and graduated in law from the University of Paris. Upon his return to Senegal he became the protégé of President Senghor, and became secretary‐general of the President's office in 1964. He was made Prime Minister in 1970, and succeeded Senghor to the Presidency in 1981. While being less of an ideologue than his predecessor, he was a much better and more efficient administrator. He also liberalized political life. In 1981, he responded to the call of his Gambian colleague, Jawara, for military assistance against a coup, and subsequently became engaged in the formation of a union between the two countries (Senegambia). In 1985 he became the head of the OAU (African Union). Economic difficulties as a result of falling prices for Senegal's main exports and the failure of the union with Gambia in 1989 gave rise to a serious opposition movement, though he continued to be sufficiently popular to be re‐elected in 1993. Diouf faced a united opposition in the 2000 presidential elections, and obtained only 41 per cent of the vote in the second round against Abdoulaye Wade. In 2002, he succeeded Boutros Ghali as Secretary‐General of the organization of French‐speaking countries, the Francophonie.

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