Senegal: confusion around the new date of the first round of the presidential election

The confusion around the date of the presidential election in Senegal continues

Senegal: confusion around the new date of the first round of the presidential election

The confusion around the date of the presidential election in Senegal continues. The Constitutional Council set the first round of the presidential election on Wednesday March 6 for March 31 after weeks of a deep crisis. A few minutes earlier, the government spokesperson had announced the date of March 24, before being disavowed by the highest institution in the country.

The country has been in deep uncertainty over the presidential vote since the passing of a law at the beginning of February, postponing the presidential election – initially scheduled for February 25 – to December, beyond the official end of the mandate of President Macky Sall – April 2.

Earlier on Wednesday evening, the Constitutional Council ruled that the presidential election should take place before April 2, rejecting the proposed new 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 of the wise men dated Tuesday and authenticated by Agence France-Presse (AFP) . The Constitutional Council also rejected another recommendation made to President Sall and declared that the list of nineteen candidates already validated by the institution should not be revised.

The Senegalese presidency noted this sudden acceleration of the calendar by announcing in the evening that the Prime Minister, Amadou Ba, was “released” from his post to lead the campaign. He is replaced by the Minister of the Interior, Sidiki Kaba, said a spokesperson.

Vote for an amnesty law

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

The president caused a shock, in this country presented as one of the most stable in West Africa shaken by power grabs, by decreeing the postponement of the 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 acts linked to political violence in recent years, a widely criticized text even though it is supposed to dissipate tensions. The parliamentarians finally approved by 94 votes for and 49 against this text decried by its detractors as sheltering the perpetrators of serious acts, including homicides. The text amnesties all offenses or crimes, whether tried or not, committed between February 1, 2021 and February 25, 2024 and “relating to demonstrations or having political motivations”.

Senegal experienced, between 2021 and 2023, various episodes of riots, clashes, ransacking and looting triggered in particular by the standoff between the opponent Ousmane Sonko and the government. 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, and hundreds more arrested.