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In Senegal, President Sall announces an amnesty law

Photo: Seyllou Agence France-Presse On Monday, President Sall reaffirmed his desire for appeasement.

Malick Rokhy Ba – Agence France-Presse to Diamniadio

7:34 p.m.

  • Africa

The Senegalese head of state, Macky Sall, announced on Monday a bill for amnesty for events occurring during the unrest experienced by his country for three years, in the midst of a crisis surrounding the postponement of the presidential election.

President Sall, who launched two-day consultations to try to find an agreement on a new presidential date, has still not commented on the issue, despite multiple national and international pressures to organize the vote as quickly as possible. and create the conditions for emerging from one of the worst crises that Senegal has experienced in decades.

The chances that these consultations will lead to the desired “appeasement” are uncertain. Major protagonists, including 17 of the 19 candidates selected in January by the Constitutional Council, boycotted them. A broad political and citizen front is demanding that President Sall organize the presidential election without further conditions before April 2, the official date of the end of his second term.

The Aar Sunu Élection (“Let’s preserve our election”) collective, which is campaigning against the postponement, is calling for a “dead cities” day across the country and a general strike on Tuesday.

The amnesty law that he will present Wednesday in the Council of Ministers will be submitted to the Assembly precisely “in a spirit of national reconciliation” to overcome the deep divisions of recent years, evident with the current electoral imbroglio, said Mr. Sall. It would target the facts occurring during different episodes of unrest occurring since 2021, and again recently in February after the announcement of the postponement of the presidential election.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and prosecuted under different charges since 2021. Among them are prominent figures, including anti-system opponent Ousmane Sonko, at the heart of the agitation, and his second-in-command Bassirou Diomaye Faye, presidential candidate.

However, different actors are opposed to an amnesty law: the majority because it could erase the serious acts of demonstrators; in the opposition for fear that it would exonerate government or security officials from the deaths of numerous demonstrators.

The opposition feared a trap that this amnesty would be part of the consultations to try to find an agreement on the date of the presidential election.

“Grand Theatre”

President Sall said he hoped the Senegalese would vote by the start of the rainy season, which begins in June/July. He has already said he doubts the feasibility of an election before April 2.

He reiterated his commitment to leave that day while part of the opposition suspects a plan to stay in power beyond his two mandates of 12 years in total. “I want to leave,” he even said in a personal tone as he concluded the first day of discussions.

Some of the several hundred politicians, civil society representatives and other religious dignitaries who participated in the discussions openly called for him to stay until his successor is installed, including beyond April 2. Others have advocated an interim presidency.

The “national dialogue” will deliver, a priori Tuesday, conclusions on two subjects: the date of the presidential election and the organization after April 2 until the inauguration of his successor .

One of the 17 candidates to boycott the consultations, Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, described the “national dialogue” as “theater” that the head of state “could have organized at the Grand Théâtre” in Dakar. He and a number of competitors went to the Constitutional Court to ask the “Wise Men” to formally note the failure of the Head of State to fulfill his duty to organize the presidential election.

President Sall triggered a shock wave on February 3 by decreeing a last-minute postponement of the election. He cited the heated quarrels which gave rise to the validation of the candidacies and his fear that a contested ballot would provoke new clashes.

The opposition denounced a “constitutional coup”. Repressed demonstrations left four dead and led to dozens of arrests.

The Constitutional Council vetoed the postponement. He noted the impossibility of holding the presidential election on February 25 and asked the authorities to organize it “as soon as possible”.

As for resistance to the head of state, some are worried about the consequences of a vacancy in the presidency without an established succession. Others accuse him of playing for time, either to advantage his side because things would look bad for him in the presidential election, or to cling to power beyond April 2.

They fear that the “dialogue” will be used to re-examine the applications. President Sall indicated that he had received representatives of two groups of disqualified candidates.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116