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The Senegalese president commits to organizing the presidential election “as soon as possible”

Photo: John Wessels Agence France-Presse Demonstrators marched in Dakar on Friday to ask Macky Sall to respect the initial date of the presidential election.

Adrien Marotte – Agence France-Presse in Dakar

10:06 p.m.

  • Africa

Senegal appears to be on the path to appeasement on Saturday after Macky Sall, under pressure from all sides, committed to organizing the presidential election “as soon as possible”, in accordance with the opinion of the Constitutional Council.

The Head of State broke the silence in the form of a press release published Friday by his services to assure that he would “fully execute the decision” of the Wise Men who had issued a decision the day before resounding veto of his decision to postpone the election initially scheduled for the end of February.

Mr. Sall “will without delay carry out the necessary consultations for the organization of the presidential election as soon as possible,” says the text.

“As soon as possible”, this is precisely the window set by the Constitutional Council on Thursday when it invalidated the postponement of the presidential election to December 15. Since then, calls have been raised from all sides, in the country and abroad.

Senegal was going through one of the worst political crises in its post-independence history since the announcement on February 3 by Mr. Sall of the de facto postponement of the presidential election, scheduled for February 25.< /p>

The National Assembly then postponed the vote until December 15, after forcibly evacuating the opposition, extending the mandate of the head of state until the installation of his successor.

This postponement caused clashes which left three people dead during repressed demonstrations, which gave rise to dozens of arrests.

Only a few dozen people responded to calls to demonstrate on Friday in Dakar and were dispersed using tear gas.

A silent march of opponents planned for Saturday in Dakar was authorized, unlike all those in recent weeks, Elimane Kane, of the civil society collective Aar Sunu Election (“Let's Protect” our election”) who organizes it.

Decision welcomed

The decision of the Constitutional Council was widely welcomed as a factor of appeasement.

“It’s a decision that was expected by the Senegalese people,” said Babou Cissé, a 40-year-old lawyer, noting that “the tension has dropped a little.”

The opposition and civil society cried out for a “constitutional coup” after the postponement, accusing the presidential camp of wanting to avoid the defeat of its candidate, Prime Minister Amadou Ba, and suspecting Mr. Sall for wanting to stay in power.

The president swore that he would not run for a third term, justifying the postponement by the fear of a contested vote likely to provoke new outbursts of violence after those of 2021 and 2023.

The Constitutional Council, contacted by opponents of the postponement, invoked the principle of “intangibility” of the five-year duration of the presidential mandate.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, France and the United Kingdom had called on the authorities to comply with the Council's decision.

The United States, for its part, urged all stakeholders to agree to “support a free and fair election, conducted peacefully and in a timely manner,” according to a Department of Defense press release. 'State.

The UN called on all parties to hold an “inclusive and transparent election within the framework of the Constitution”.

The postponement of the presidential election had alarmed important international partners, worried that a country renowned for its stability in a troubled region would give in to violence.


In the streets of Dakar, Mamadou Caba, a 55-year-old employee, like others expressed his relief.

“It is fortunate that the Constitutional Council takes a decision as it did. At least now we’re halfway to the right solution,” he said.

For Babacar Gueye, a constitutionalist coordinator of Aar Sunu Election opposed to the postponement, its invalidation is “historic”.

Faced with the concern shared by Senegal's foreign partners, the system “finally showed that it [had] the resources to overcome very big crises”, he told the 'AFP.

The questions now relate to the date of the election and the list of competitors. The Constitutional Council validated 20 applications in January.

Government spokesperson Abdou Karim Fofana noted that the Council was not imposing a date. He hinted at discussions between the president and political actors, “which will help organize things.”

The head of state “must make arrangements so that we can discuss, so that we can see how to implement the Council's decision,” one of the main candidates told the press , Khalifa Sall.

The opponent did not say whether the election should take place before or after the departure of President Sall. But he shared a common perception after the Council's decision: on April 2, when his mandate expires, President Sall “must go.”

In opposition, Amadou Ba declared that “Macky must organize the presidential election before the end of his mandate on April 2, 2024, which remains the handover date,” reported the daily Walf.

Amadou Ba is the representative of Bassirou Diomaye Faye, number two of the dissolved Pastef party, who brought to power after 2021 a standoff punctuated by murderous episodes.

Hundreds of supporters of this party and members of civil society were arrested.

In a gesture of appeasement, 134 of them have been released since Thursday and 90 were to be released on Friday, according to the Ministry of Justice.

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