Senegalese president postpones presidential elections indefinitely

Dakar, Feb 3 (EFE). – The president of Senegal, Macky Sall, announced Saturday the repeal of the decree that called for presidential elections on Feb. 25, postponing them indefinitely.

Following a controversy over the official list of candidates just hours before the start of campaigning on Sunday, the president said in an address to the nation that he would launch “an open national dialogue to create the conditions for a free, transparent, and inclusive election.”

The announcement comes as lawmakers investigate two Constitutional Council judges whose integrity in the election process has been questioned.

Sall has said he will not seek a third term since 2023, a point he reiterated in Saturday’s speech.

“As for me, my solemn commitment not to run for the presidential election remains unchanged,” he said.

The president also attributed his decision to the controversy surrounding a candidate whose dual nationality (French and Senegalese) was revealed after the final list was published.

Sall said this violated Article 28 of the Constitution, which stipulates that any candidate for the presidency must be only of Senegalese nationality.

The head of state was referring to Rose Wardini of the Sénégal Nouveau (New Senegal) party, who, in an interview with EFE hours before the presidential announcement, called for “peace and concord.”

However, she avoided addressing the controversy over her alleged dual citizenship.

Meanwhile, in statements to EFE, another opposition candidate, Serigne Mboup called the Senegalese president’s decision a “constitutional coup”.

Sall’s announcement came just one day after the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), led by opposition leader Karim Wade, presented a “bill” to postpone the vote for “serious, intolerable flaws” in the electoral process, the party said in a statement.

Karim Wade, son of former president Abdoulaye Wade (2000-2012), was excluded from the final list of candidates because of his dual nationality, and has since accused the judges of corruption, claiming that he now only has a Senegalese passport.

The list, which included only 20 of the original 93 nominations, also excluded the candidacy of the country’s main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, because it was considered incomplete.

Since his arrest in July on charges including insurrection and attacking state security, Sonko, 49, has been detained and immersed in a legal battle to be allowed to contest the elections.

His candidacy was already in jeopardy when the Senegales Supreme Court upheld his six-month suspended prison sentence on Jan. 4 for defamation and public insult of a minister.

According to the electoral code, those sentenced to a suspended prison term of less than or equal to six months may not register on the electoral roll for the next five years.

In September, President Sall, in power since 2012, nominated current Prime Minister Amadou Ba as the candidate of the ruling coalition Benno Bokk Yaakaar (United for Hope, in Wolof).

Both Ba and Bassirou Diomaye Faye, whom Sonko’s party, Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (Pastef), nominated as a candidate at the end of 2023 given the foreseeable exclusion of its leader, were included in the final list. EFE


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