Abdou Diouf (Abdu Juuf) (born September 7, 1935) was the second President of Senegal, serving from 1981 to 2000. Diouf is notable both for coming to power by peaceful succession, and leaving willingly after losing the 2000 presidential election to Abdoulaye Wade. He has been the Secretary-General of La Francophonie since 2003.
Diouf was born in Louga, Senegal, a child of an Hal Pulaar mother and a Serere father. He went to primary and secondary school at the Lycée Faidherbe in Saint-Louis, and studied law at Dakar University and then at the Sorbonne, Paris. Diouf graduated in 1959.
After graduation, Diouf returned to Senegal, where in September 1960 he was appointed Director of International Technical Cooperation. In November 1960 he became assistant of the Secretary-General of the Government, and in June 1961 he became Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defense. In 1961 he joined the Senegalese Progressive Union (Union Progressiste Sénégalaise, UPS), which later became the Socialist Party of Senegal. In December 1961 he became Governor of the Sine-Saloum Region, serving in that position until December 1962, when he became Director of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In May 1963 he was moved to the position of Director of the Cabinet of President Léopold Senghor, where he remained until December 1965. In January 1964 he became Secretary-General of the Presidency, serving in that post until March 1968, when he became Minister of the Plan and Industry. He remained in the latter position until February 1970, when he was named Prime Minister.
In 1985, opposing parties tried to form a coalition. It was broken up on the grounds that coalitions were forbidden by the constitution. Also in 1985, Abdoulaye Wade, Diouf's main political opponent, was temporarily arrested for unlawful demonstration.
In February, 1988, elections were held again. Diouf won 72.3 percent of the vote to Wade's 25.8 percent, and opposing parties alleged electoral fraud. Disturbances followed, and Diouf declared a state of emergency, detaining Wade again until May of that year.
From this electoral defeat came one of Diouf's greatest contributions to African peace, for he gracefully surrendered power to Abdoulaye Wade, his long-time rival. When Diouf left office Wade said he should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for leaving without violence.
Both during and after his presidency, Diouf has been active in international organizations. He was elected President of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for 1985 to 1986. Soon after his election, he made a personal plea to François Mitterrand, the President of France, resulting in France speaking strongly for sanctions against South Africa. In 1992, he was re-elected President of the OAU again for another year-long term.
After leaving office as President of Senegal, he was elected as Secretary-General of La Francophonie at that organization's Ninth Summit on October 20 2002 in Beirut, following the withdrawal of the candidate Henri Lopes of the Republic of the Congo; Diouf took office on January 1 2003. He was re-elected as Secretary-General for another four years at the organization's summit in Bucharest in September 2006.