Wade, Abdoulaye (äbdōlĪˈə wäd) [key], 1926–, Senegalese political leader. He studied at several French universities, receiving (1970) a doctorate in law and economics from the Sorbonne, and was a law professor and lawyer in France before returning to Senegal to practice law and teach it at the Univ. of Dakar. In 1974 he founded the liberal Senegalese Democratic party (PDS), the first to oppose President Léopold Senghor's ruling Socialist party. Wade was elected to parliament in 1978. He ran for president against Senghor in 1978 and 1983 and against Senghor's hand-picked successor, Abdou Diouf, in 1988 and 1993, and was defeated each time, although the 1988 results were widely disputed. Wade, who served (1991–92) as minister of state, was arrested in 1994 (for inciting riot) and acquitted, and again served (1995–98) as minister of state. In 2000 he finally defeated Diouf and won the presidency, ending four decades of Socialist rule. Despite rampant unemployment, which he vowed to ameliorate, Wade was reelected in 2007. In office, he fought corruption and instituted free-market reforms and literacy, public health, and antipoverty measures, but his move to run for a third term and the proposed creation of a vice presidency (2011), which many believed was designed to pass the presidency on to his son, tarnished his reputation. He lost (2012) his bid for a third term to Macky Sall, who had served as Wade's prime minister.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: African History: Biographies