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What political future for Senegal?

Photo: Michele Cattani Agence France-Presse Senegalese people watch President Macky Sall's speech on Thursday. He assured that he would leave office as planned on April 2, opening up a new unknown in the event that the election took place after this date.

Adrien Marotte – Agence France-Presse in Dakar

10:34 a.m.

  • Africa

Senegalese President Macky Sall left in abeyance the date of the presidential election, which he himself had decreed to be postponed, opening one of the most serious political crises in Senegal since independence.

He indicated Thursday evening that the date of the vote would be set following a dialogue to be held Monday and Tuesday. He also assured that he would leave office as planned on April 2, opening a new unknown in the event that the election took place after this date.

While important political and civil society actors have rejected the invitation to dialogue, the situation remains very volatile and many questions remain.

Why a dialogue and with whom ?

Macky Sall announced on February 3 the postponement of the presidential election three weeks before the deadline, committing to lead an “open national dialogue, in order to bring together the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election in a peaceful and peaceful Senegal. reconciled.”

After the invalidation of the postponement by the Constitutional Council, it was through this dialogue that Macky Sall said he wanted to get out of the crisis and find a consensual date.

The dialogue must focus on the date of the presidential election and after April 2, he said Thursday.

“The election may be held before or after April 2,” he said, then adding that he did not think it would be held before then.

He indicated that the 19 candidates selected for the vote and the dozens of others excluded from the race by the Constitutional Council, the parties and civil society were invited to the dialogue. Actors whose interests seem difficult to reconcile.

Sixteen presidential candidates and a citizen collective mobilized against the postponement refuse to take part. All demand that the president set the date before April 2 in advance of any discussion.

“If we find this consensus [at the dialogue], I will issue the decree immediately to set the date; if consensus is not found, I will refer the whole thing to the level of the Constitutional Council, which will advise,” said Mr. Sall.

What can happen after April 2 ?

If the election takes place after April 2, the date the president pledged to leave, “it will be a situation of legal vacuum,” constitutionalist Babacar Gueye told AFP .

In the event of resignation, incapacity or death, the president is replaced by the president of the National Assembly, says article 39 of the Constitution, but no scenario is envisaged in the current situation.

In such circumstances, the only recourse remaining is the Constitutional Council.

According to Mr. Gueye, the Council could either ask the President of the Assembly to act as interim and organize an election by giving him a deadline, or call on the political class to find a solution .

Asked about the possibility that the Constitutional Council would extend the president's mandate beyond April 2 so that he could organize the vote, Mr. Gueye, without excluding it, judges that this would be illogical.

Because it was Mr. Sall who contributed to not organizing the presidential election on the scheduled date, and because the Council recalled the intangibility of the five-year mandate of the Head of State when he vetoed the report.

The unknown Sonko

The imprisoned opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, whose candidacy was invalidated, and his replacement for the presidential election, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, also imprisoned, cannot speak publicly, but they remain in all heads.

Mr. Since 2021, Sonko has been engaged in a duel for power with President Sall which has caused unrest which has left dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests.

His diatribes against the president, the corruption of the elites and the economic and political influence exercised, according to him, by the former French colonial power have made him gain popularity. In the past, he has demonstrated his capacity for mobilization, particularly among young people.

While several hundred detainees have been released over the past week, President Sall said on Thursday that he was “ready” to release the two men before the presidential election to move towards “peaceful” elections.

But the coalition of the two men warned that they would refuse to discuss with the head of state until the president had set the date of the election.

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