Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Senegal: the pre ;president postpones presidential election

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The president of Senegal Macky Sall. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

Senegalese head of state Macky Sall announced on Saturday the postponement without a defined date of the presidential election scheduled for February 25, an unprecedented decision taken in a context of deep political crisis and which sparked protests.

The president elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019 made the announcement in a brief intervention on public television, a few hours before the opening of campaign on Sunday.

In Washington, the State Department said the United States was deeply concerned by the announcement.

We urge all participants in the Senegalese electoral process to engage peacefully in the important effort to quickly set a new date and conditions for a free and fair election .

A quote from The Bureau of African Affairs of the US Department of State

The State Department added that Senegal has a strong tradition of democracy and peaceful transitions of power.

The West African regional organization ECOWAS expressed its concern over the circumstances which led to the postponement of the election, in a press release published on X. It calls on the competent authorities to promote the procedures in order to set a new date for the vote.

This is the first time since 1963 that a presidential election by direct universal suffrage has been postponed in Senegal, the country presented as an island of stability in Africa.

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I signed the decree of February 3, 2024 repealing the decree of November 26, 2023 setting the presidential election for February 25, 2024, said Mr. Sall.

For several days our country has been facing a dispute between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council, in open conflict against the backdrop of an alleged case of corruption of judges.

A quote from Macky Sall, president of Senegal

Senegal cannot afford a new crisis after deadly unrest in March 2021 and June 2023, he added, announcing a dialogue national for a free, transparent and inclusive election and reiterating its commitment not to be a candidate.

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Senegal experienced its worst unrest in years in June 2023 after the two-year sentence of prison sentence for opponent Ousmane Sonko in a morality case. (Archive photo)

Minister Secretary General of the Government Abdou Latif Coulibaly, brother of one of the two judges suspected of corruption, announced his resignation from the government to recover his full rights freedom.

This is not a postponement, but quite simply a cancellation of the election, reacted on Facebook El Malick Ndiaye, former spokesperson for the dissolved party of the imprisoned opponent Ousmane Sonko. p>

Senegalese opponent Khalifa Sall, one of the main presidential candidates, called on the entire country to stand up against the postponement of the vote.

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Senegalese opponent Khalifa Sall speaks in June 2022.

According to the electoral code, a decree setting the date of a new presidential election must be published no later than 80 days before the vote, which would lead, from Saturday, to the end of April.

President Sall had promised to hand over power to the elected president at the beginning of April.

The postponement is announced against a backdrop of conflict between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council, which validated 20 applications in January, a record.

This election was shaping up to be the most indecisive since independence in 1960. Doubt arose over the chances of Prime Minister Amadou Bâ, designated by Mr. Sall in September as his heir apparent, a choice having divided his camp.

The Constitutional Council excluded dozens of contenders from the ballot.

Among them, two tenors of the opposition: the anti-system candidate Ousmane Sonko, in prison since July 2023 in particular for calling for insurrection and disqualified by the Council for defamation in a separate case, and Karim Wade, minister and son of ex-president Abdoulaye Wade (2000-2012).

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Former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim Wade in 2008

After the publication of the final list of candidates, Karim Wade's coalition initiated the creation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into two of the seven judges of the Council whose integrity it calls into question.

The National Assembly approved on January 31 the formation of this commission on the validation of candidates. A large number of members of the presidential camp voted for this commission.

Adversaries of the outgoing president suspected a plan to postpone the presidential election because power would fear losing it.

The Constitutional Council is called upon to proclaim the results of the presidential election and to rule on the protests.

The office of the National Assembly adopted on Saturday a proposal, at the initiative of Karim Wade's coalition, for a maximum six-month postponement of the presidential election on February 25, announced public television.

The deputies must then meet in committee to examine it, before a plenary on an unspecified date.

Furthermore, one of the twenty candidates, Rose Wardini, was placed in custody on Friday evening by the judicial police for forgery and use of forgery and fraud in judgment, in an investigation into her presumed Franco-Senegalese nationality, told l& #x27;AFP a police source.

All candidates must be exclusively of Senegalese nationality, says the Constitution. The case of this candidate was mentioned on Saturday by President Sall as an element of the postponement decision.

Karim Wade, 55 years old, born in France of a Senegalese father and a French mother, was excluded from the ballot because of his dual Senegalese and French nationality, according to the Council.

Mr. Wade denounced a new legal plot, after being prevented from competing in 2019 due to his conviction in 2015 to six years in prison for illicit enrichment.

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