Senegal gain its independence from France after breaking away from the Mali Federation, which was formed by merging Senegal and the French Soudan in 1959.
The Mali federation gained independence on 20 June 1960, as a result of the independence and the transfer of power agreement signed with Soudan, on 4 April 1960. However, due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up six days later. Senegal and Soudan (renamed the Republic of Mali) proclaimed independence. Léopold Sédar Senghor, was elected Senegal's first president in August 1960.
President Senghor and Prime Minister Mamadou Dia governed together under a parliamentary system. In December 1962, Prime Minister Dia attempted to overthrow President Senghor. The attempt failed and Dia was arrested. In 1980, President Senghor retired from politics and handed power in 1981 to his successor Abdou Diouf. Diouf was president from 1981-2000. In the presidential election of 2000, he was defeated in a free and fair election by the opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade. Senegal experienced its second peaceful transition of power, and its first from one political party to another. It was also a move from one party state towards multiparty democracy. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.
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