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Senegal: presidential election set for March 24

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar15,2024

Senegal: the presidential election set e to March 24

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The President of Senegal, Macky Sall (Archive photo)

Agency France-Presse

The Senegalese head of state Macky Sall has set the first round of the presidential election for Sunday March 24 after weeks of deep crisis and a decision by the Constitutional Council opposing a postponement of the election beyond the deadline. his term ends on April 2.

The President of the Republic informed the Council of Ministers of the setting of the date of the presidential election for Sunday March 24, 2024, said a press release sent by a presidential spokesperson.

This announcement follows the publication of a decision by the Constitutional Council which ruled that the presidential election should take place before April 2, rejecting the proposed date of June 2.

Setting the date of the election beyond the duration of the mandate of the President of the Republic in office is contrary to the Constitution, says a decision des Sages dated Tuesday and authenticated by AFP.

The Constitutional Council also rejected another recommendation made to President Sall and declared that the list of 19 candidates already validated by the institution should not be revised .

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The Senegalese presidency took note of this brutal acceleration of the timetable by announcing in the evening that Prime Minister Amadou Ba was released from his post to campaign. He is replaced by Interior Minister Sidiki Kaba, a spokesperson said.

The Constitutional Council has been referred to the Constitutional Council since Monday for its opinion by President Sall himself. The head of state submitted recommendations resulting from a national dialogue that he had convened last week to try to emerge from the crisis caused by the postponement of the presidential election, one the most serious crossings in decades.

President Sall caused a shock in a country presented as one of the most stable in West Africa shaken by power grabs by decreeing on February 3 the postponement of the presidential election. Election scheduled for February 25.

The national dialogue was one of the elements of President Macky Sall's response to the crisis.

The other was a bill for amnesty for the perpetrators of acts linked to political violence in recent years, a text that was widely criticized at the time that it is supposed to dissipate tensions.

The deputies debated the text all day on Wednesday and took a break early in the evening before voting. But this break coincided with the publication of the Constitutional Council's decision, and the vote had not taken place by 9 p.m. (local time).

The debates confirmed that the vote was expected to be close given the political calculations and the reluctance in the face of a text criticized as sheltering the perpetrators of serious acts, including homicides.

An amnesty risked adding to the confusion. The question of its application to the imprisoned opponent Ousmane Sonko, of his possible return to the saddle in the electoral race, and, more generally, of the re-examination of the list of candidates validated in January, agitated the political class.

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Ousmane Sonko on March 8, 2021

The project would provide amnesty to all perpetrators of misdemeanors or crimes, whether tried or not, committed between February 1, 2021 and February 25, 2024 and relating to demonstrations or having political motivations, according to the text submitted Tuesday in committee.

Senegal experienced between 2021 and 2023 different episodes of riots, clashes, ransacking and looting triggered in particular by the standoff between opponent Sonko and those in power.

Mr. Sonko, third in the presidential election in 2019 and declared candidate in 2024, has been detained since July 2023 and was disqualified from the presidential election, of which he was one of the favorites. In February, Senegal fell prey to new unrest after the announcement of the postponement of the election.

Dozens of people have been killed since 2021, hundreds injured, hundreds of others arrested.

The presidency justified the amnesty by the need to calm the political and social climate.

The law has the sole objective of reconciliation […] President Macky Sall does not hide any bad intentions, Farba Ngom assured during the debate, deputy from the presidential camp.

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The decision of the Senegalese head of state Macky Sall to postpone the election presidential election has prompted many citizens to demonstrate their opposition in the streets of Dakar in recent weeks.

The latest in a series of amnesties approved since independence, this one, without being specific, could mean the release of dozens of opponents.

Many political and social actors are standing up against the project, expressing indignation that no member of the security forces or any government official does not have to be held accountable.

This law is a license to continue to assassinate the Senegalese. Amnesty law, amnesia law: not in my name. Justice for the murdered and tortured, exclaimed MP Guy Marius Sagna.

The project is not unanimous within the presidential camp, which has a precarious majority in the Assembly .

The positioning of Ousmane Sonko's dissolved party is being carefully scrutinized. Pastef, which has almost systematically opposed presidential projects in the past, but whose members could benefit from an amnesty, abstained during a preliminary vote in committee on Tuesday.

Pastef is not asking for the text, said MP Ayib Daffé on Wednesday, but amnesty in itself is something commendable.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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