Senegal Presidential race 2024: 79 candidates will compete

Seventy-nine individuals officially put forward their aspirations for the upcoming February 2024 presidential election in Senegal.

They did it meeting the deadline set for Tuesday evening, as disclosed by the Senegalese newspaper Le Soleil.

While the total number of applications submitted to the Constitutional Council remains undisclosed, Le Soleil clarified that the entity responsible for receiving the required deposit of 30 million FCFA (equivalent to 45,000 euros) for presidential candidacy, the Caisse des dépôts et consignations, received a total of 79 applications.

Among the applicants are prominent figures expected to contend in the February 25, 2024, elections, notably Amadou Ba, a member of the ruling coalition and Senegal’s incumbent prime minister; imprisoned opposition leader Ousmane Sonko; former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall; Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade; and Idrissa Seck, who secured the second position in the 2019 presidential election.

Macky Sall, the President in office since 2012, declared in July his decision not to seek another term, designating Amadou Ba as the representative of the majority.

The Senegalese authorities declined to provide the necessary documentation for Mr. Sonko’s candidacy, a pivotal figure engaged in a prolonged confrontation with the state spanning over two years, marked by multiple incidents of lethal unrest.

Nevertheless, Ousmane Sonko, aged 49 and incarcerated since late July on various charges, including incitement to insurrection, has submitted his candidacy to the Constitutional Council, as confirmed by Ousseynou Ly, the head of his party’s communication unit, speaking to AFP without elaborating further.

Mr. Sonko vehemently protests the charges against him and perceives his entanglement in these cases as orchestrated attempts to exclude him from the presidential race.

In mid-December, a judge reinstated his candidacy by ordering his reenrollment in the electoral register, affirming a previous decision issued in October by the Ziguinchor court (located in the south), which had been nullified by the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the State’s legal representative filed an appeal against this decision, as reported by Le Soleil.

The Constitutional Council is slated to unveil the roster of presidential candidates in Senegal no later than January 20.

According to a press release from the Conseil national de régulation de l’audiovisuel (CNRA), the pre-campaign and official campaign periods are scheduled to commence on January 5 and February 4, 2024, respectively.

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