Presidential election in Senegal: candidate Rose Wardini suspected of having French nationality

A few days before the official start of the campaign for the presidential election on February 25, the candidate of the Senegal Nouveau movement, Rose Wardini, went Friday evening, February 2 to the Criminal Investigation Division (DIC), in Dakar, according to a police source

Presidential election in Senegal: candidate Rose Wardini suspected of having French nationality

A few days before the official start of the campaign for the presidential election on February 25, the candidate of the Senegal Nouveau movement, Rose Wardini, went Friday evening, February 2 to the Criminal Investigation Division (DIC), in Dakar, according to a police source. This summons, the reasons for which are not yet known, comes at a time when the gynecologist is suspected of having dual French-Senegalese nationality. However, the Constitution clearly indicates that candidates for the presidential election must be exclusively Senegalese. A rule which has already resulted in Karim Wade, the son and former minister of ex-president Abdoulaye Wade, being eliminated from the race.

The controversy over Rose Wardani's dual nationality began on Thursday February 1 with the publication, on social networks, of screenshots of the official website of the French administration service-public.fr where the candidate's date of birth appears and his voter number on the list of the French consulate in Dakar. She was still registered there on February 2, 2024, even though her candidacy for the presidential election, which included a sworn declaration according to which she was only Senegalese, was validated by the Constitutional Council.

Ms. Wardini's campaign team has not yet reacted, but the affair is already fueling controversy over the main body controlling the vote. The establishment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry, initiated by deputies of the parliamentary group of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) and its allies, was adopted on Wednesday January 31 in plenary assembly by 120 deputies out of 165 in order to examine the process of selection and eviction of candidates for the presidential election by the Constitutional Council. This commission now has six months to examine the conditions in which the candidates – including that of the PDS, Karim Wade – were excluded from the electoral process.

The Constitutional Council in turmoil

The deputies of the PDS parliamentary group have already mentioned in a press release “allegations of conflicts of interest, undue advantages and suspicions of corruption and collusion involving certain members of the Constitutional Council in the sponsorship control process and validation of candidacies for the next presidential election. Accusations which caused the institution to react, which denounced “serious and unfounded accusations”.

“No parliamentary committee has the competence to hear a magistrate,” recalled the Union of Magistrates of Senegal. “Members of the commission can summon whoever they want, including constitutional judges. But the national assembly does not have coercive powers and they therefore have the right not to present themselves,” retorts Saliou Dieng, PDS deputy and rapporteur of the parliamentary commission of inquiry.

Karim Wade's camp makes no secret of it: the objective is to obtain a postponement of the presidential election in the hope that their candidate can participate. “Given the flaws in the electoral process in the control of sponsorships and in the examination of files, postponement is the only solution to review the entire process of selection of candidates,” assures Mr. Dieng, invoking article 52 of the Constitution which gives the President of the Republic “exceptional powers” ​​when “the institutions of the Republic, the independence of the nation, the integrity of the national territory or the execution of international commitments are threatened in a serious and immediate manner , and the regular functioning of public authorities or institutions is interrupted. »

“It’s up to her to resign or for the courts to sanction her.”

But several civil society actors recalled that a parliamentary commission of inquiry did not have the power to postpone elections. According to article 29 of the Constitution, only the death of a candidate allows the submission of new candidacies until the day before the election and the postponement of the election to a new date set by the Constitutional Council.

Thierno Alassane Sall, deputy candidate in the presidential election and former energy minister of outgoing President Macky Sall, filed an appeal in mid-January to denounce the dual nationality of Karim Wade after the publication of the provisional list of candidates. “This time, the deadline for appeal to the seven wise men has passed, the list is final. But if Rose Wardini's dual nationality is proven, it is up to her to resign or for the courts to sanction her for false declaration and the offense of perjury", believes the president of the political party La République des Valeurs, who rules out any possibility of postponement. of the ballot. “The commission of inquiry was validated by deputies frustrated by the elimination of the candidacy of their candidates or the validation of opponents but they risk creating a constitutional crisis,” he is alarmed.