In Senegal, opposition denounces 'constitutional coup' after presidential election postponement
Flag of Senegal (photo credit: Kaufdex)
Lawmakers backed postponing this month's polls until December 15 during a lengthy and heated debate, which at times descended into shoving and pushing.
The proposal eventually passed almost unanimously late on [5 Febraury] -- but only after security forces stormed the chamber and removed some opposition deputies.
It paves the way for President Macky Sall -- whose second mandate was due to expire in early April -- to remain in office until his successor is installed, probably in 2025.
Opposition members claim the country has been taken "hostage" and have decried the erosion of Senegal's democratic norms.
It is the first time that Senegalese voters, who were due to elect their fifth president on February 25, head to the ballot box almost 10 months later than planned. [...] The move unleashed widespread outcry on social media, despite the government suspending mobile internet access on [5 February].
Senegal is often viewed as a bastion of stability in West Africa and has never experienced a coup since gaining independence from France in 1960, making it a rare outlier in a volatile region.
Sall [...] said that he delayed the vote because of a dispute between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council over the rejection of candidates.
He said he wanted to prevent any pre- and post-electoral disputes and new clashes, such as those that rocked Senegal in 2021 and 2023.
Tensions had soared over speculation that Sall -- first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019 -- was considering running for a third term.
He eventually confirmed last July that he would not stand again, re-iterating it on [3 February]. But the opposition suspects the postponement is part of a plan by the presidential camp to avoid defeat, or even to extend Sall's term in office.
Read the full article here: France 24