Portada » The president of Senegal postpones the elections after reporting irregularities in the approval of the candidatures | International

The president of Senegal postpones the elections after reporting irregularities in the approval of the candidatures | International

by Isabella Walker
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Senegal President Macky Sall speaks at the COP28 climate summit on December 1 in Dubai.AMR ALFIKY (REUTERS)

The president of Senegal, Macky Sall, postponed by decree and breast die the presidential elections scheduled for February 25th and he communicated this to the nation in a televised message on Saturday. The head of state, who will not stand in the elections, motivates his decision with the conflict that arose between Parliament and the Constitutional Court, after the majority of deputies approved the investigation into two judges for alleged irregularities in the approval of candidatures and in verifies that one of the candidates has dual French-Senegalese nationality, a circumstance prohibited by the Magna Carta.

“These problematic circumstances could damage the credibility of the vote, sowing the seeds of pre- and post-election disputes. Our country cannot afford a new crisis when it still suffers the scars of the violent demonstrations of March 2021 and June 2023,” Sall said on Saturday. The postponement caused a huge stir among the Senegalese political class and among the majority of the 20 candidates approved by the Constitutional Court, who were preparing to campaign starting on Monday. It is the first time since 1963 that presidential elections have been postponed in the West African country.

The political-judicial mix-up that led to this delay became official a week ago, when the Senegalese Parliament approved the creation of a commission to investigate two judges of the Constitutional Court for alleged corruption in the final approval of the 20 candidates for the elections . The petition was presented by the opposition Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), after the exclusion of its candidate, Karim Wade, from the aforementioned list, because he had dual French-Senegalese nationality at the time of submitting his candidacy. However, the presidential majority parliamentary group, Benno Bokk Yakaar, also supported the initiative.

The Constitutional Court reacted vehemently and regretted that the deputies intended to investigate two of its members, bypassing the separation of powers established in the Magna Carta. Despite this, the commission was established this Thursday and was preparing to carry out its work just three weeks before the elections. But another event added even more uncertainty to the whole process: that same day, screenshots from the French consulate began circulating on social media showing that candidate Rose Wardini also had dual nationality. Hours later, she was arrested on charges of lying when submitting her candidacy.

On Friday the PDS itself presented a bill in Parliament in which it calls for the postponement of the elections for a maximum of six months and the appointment of a new Constitutional Court, ensuring that the current one is suspected of “an unacceptable and arbitrary decision”. .” ” when approving applications. But President Sall decided to bring forward the deliberations of the deputies and to postpone the elections without indicating a precise date for their celebration. Likewise, he insisted that he does not intend to appear in it and that he will call for a national dialogue with all political actors “for free, transparent and inclusive elections”.

After Sall’s resignation, announced last year, and the conviction and imprisonment of the main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, which prevented him from attending the elections, the appointment with the polls on 25 February presented itself as one of the most open and uncertain events of the electoral debate. the history of the country. On the part of the government majority, the candidate Amadou Ba, nominated by President Sall himself, did not arouse great enthusiasm even within his own political group; On the opposition side, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who is in pre-trial detention, emerged as the candidate with the most options after Sonko called for a vote for him.

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The political tension around this election dates back to at least 2021, when Ousmane Sonko was first arrested and intense protests erupted across the country. His subsequent conviction last summer set the streets alight again with new demonstrations that caused at least a dozen deaths. The government reacted harshly by outlawing Sonko’s party, which has remained in prison ever since, and jailing more than a thousand people accused of participating in the violent protests. While all this was happening, thousands of young people embarked on the path of irregular emigration to the Canary Islands, resulting between June and November in one of the largest migratory exoduses in the country’s recent history.

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