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April 02, 2014

Famed Senegal Singer May Run for Mayor of Dakar

by Ricci Shryock

Senegalese musician Youssou N’dour returned to the political world recently to support President Macky Sall’s re-election in 2017 and consider his own intention to become Dakar’s mayor in municipal elections on June 29.

The Grammy-winning singer, percussionist and composer has taken Senegal's popular 'mbalax' music to a worldwide audience. He is also a successful businessman and owns a newspaper as well as a radio and TV station in the West African country.

He briefly served as minister of culture and tourism under Sall.
 
Hear Ricci Shryock interview with analyst ​Ali Ndiaye

In 2012, N'dour attempted a presidential run against President Wade, who was seeking a third term. However, judges under presidential appointment ruled that a third of the signatures gathered by N’dour and his followers on his petitions were ineligible.

Path to the mayor’s office

Youssou N'dour recently told local media in Dakar he supports the country's current leader, Macky Sall, for re-election in 2017.

N'dour's statement confirmed he would not run for president in the next national election – though he left the option open for a future race.

“He will run in the future but not in 2017,” says political analyst Ali Ndiaye.

According to Ndiaye, N'dour currently has his sights set on the office of mayor in Dakar, the capital.

N'dour, who is 54 years old, does plan to run for president again, Ndiaye says. But by supporting Macky Sall in the 2017 race, N'dour hopes to secure support from Sall's party, Alliance for the Republic, for his anticipated mayoral run.

“The mayor of Dakar is the most powerful political position in Senegal after the president,” Ndiaye says. Dakar is the seaside capital of the West African country.