Presidential election in Senegal: fifteen candidates accuse Macky Sall of “bad will”

Fifteen presidential candidates in Senegal accuse the head of state, Macky Sall, of "bad will" and have announced actions to quickly set the date of the election, postponed to a date still undetermined

Presidential election in Senegal: fifteen candidates accuse Macky Sall of “bad will”

Fifteen presidential candidates in Senegal accuse the head of state, Macky Sall, of "bad will" and have announced actions to quickly set the date of the election, postponed to a date still undetermined. The citizen collective Aar Sunu Election (“let’s protect our election”) for its part announced a new rally on Saturday. The collective is calling for the vote to be held before April 2, the official end date of Macky Sall’s mandate. According to his projections, the election, initially scheduled for February 25, must take place on March 3 at the latest.

“An inexplicable slowness is noted. Nothing has been undertaken” despite the developments of the past week, say the fifteen candidates in a joint press release published Tuesday, February 20 in the evening: “Everything works to the rhythm of the ill will of President Macky Sall. » The fifteen signatories are among the 19 candidates approved for the presidential election, according to an updated list published Tuesday by the Constitutional Council. Among them are the former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall and, via his proxy, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, presented as the replacement candidate for the anti-system opponent Ousmane Sonko. MM. Faye and Sonko are currently imprisoned.

Senegal is going through an unprecedented political crisis after the decision, in early February, by Macky Sall and the National Assembly to postpone the presidential election. This postponement, denounced as a “constitutional coup” by the opposition, provoked demonstrations which left three dead.

Last week, the Constitutional Council vetoed this postponement and the retention of Macky Sall in his post until the installation of his successor. The Council noted the impossibility of maintaining the presidential election on February 25 and asked the authorities to organize it “as soon as possible”. The Head of State said on Friday his intention to respect the Council's decision and to carry out "without delay the necessary consultations" for the organization of the vote.

" Farewell "

The Senegalese are now waiting to know the new date. Nothing has leaked publicly from the discussions that Macky Sall would lead. The fifteen candidates say that the electoral process should have resumed. They accuse the president of refusing to assume his mission of organizing the election. “Everything suggests that Macky Sall cannot digest the defeat by the Constitutional Council and the people of his attempt to sabotage the presidential election,” they say. They announce without further details “a series of actions aimed at guaranteeing the holding of the vote within the allotted time frame”.

The Aar Sunu Election collective, for its part, announced, Tuesday to the press, a rally in Dakar on Saturday, the day before the election should have taken place. He asked participants to come symbolically with their voter card, but also with food or drinks for what is intended to be Macky Sall's "going away party". He also calls on the Senegalese to symbolically go to the polling stations on Sunday. Aar Sunu Election mobilized several thousand people on Saturday in the streets of Dakar. Each event is, however, subject to an authorization regime.

The president and the National Assembly caused a shock wave with the now aborted project to postpone the election. The opposition suspects the presidential camp of having wanted to arrange with the calendar for fear of the defeat of its candidate, Prime Minister Amadou Ba, designated by the head of state to succeed him. She suspected a maneuver to keep Macky Sall in power. He has said several times that he will not run for a third term.

Senegal's international partners have expressed concern about the situation. The president's commitment to "fully" implementing the decision of the Constitutional Council, as well as various gestures such as the provisional release of hundreds of detainees, have created a fragile sense of appeasement. But the country remains in the grip of a lively dispute over the holding of the presidential election before or after April 2 and over whether or not to restart the candidacy approval process from scratch.