Senegal postpones presidential election amid controversy

This unprecedented move in Senegal is the first time a direct universal suffrage presidential election has been postponed since 1963.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall announced on Saturday that he had cancelled the presidential elections scheduled for later this month, due to disputes over some candidates’ eligibility and accusations of corruption involving election-related cases.

He said he had signed a decree to annul the law that called for the electoral body to start the campaign for the Feb. 25 election, in one of the most stable democracies in West Africa.

“I remain firmly committed to not running for the presidential election, and I will launch an open national dialogue to create the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election,” the Senegalese leader said, without giving a new date for the vote.

The decision came just hours before the election campaign was supposed to begin and after a parliamentary commission was set up to probe the integrity of two judges from the Constitutional Council.

President Sall disclosed that he had withdrawn his previous decree, which fixed the election for February 25, after doubts were expressed about the fairness of the electoral process.

This unprecedented move in Senegal is the first time a direct universal suffrage presidential election has been postponed since 1963.

In his speech, President Sall stated his intention to start an open national dialogue to guarantee conditions for a free, transparent, and inclusive election, though he did not mention a new date.

President Sall, who was first elected in 2012 for a seven-year term and re-elected in 2019 for five years, had previously said that he would not seek another term, naming Prime Minister Amadou Ba as his successor.

The Constitutional Council had barred several candidates from the election, including opposition leaders Ousmane Sonko and Karim Wade, causing controversy.

The political situation in Senegal is now uncertain, with the delay raising issues about the country’s electoral process and the difficulties faced by the opposition candidates who were ruled out.

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