Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Senegal’s opposition candidates slam Macky Sall for election delay; call it ‘constitutional coup’

“An inexplicable slowness has been noted. Nothing has been done despite developments over the past week,” the 15 candidates said.

• February 21, 2024
Macky Sall
Senegalese President Macky Sall

Opposition candidates cleared for Senegal’s 2023 presidential election have collectively criticised President Macky Sall for footdragging to fix a new date for the election, even after the Constitutional Court faulted the election delay.

A few days after a demonstration by the same group pressuring Mr Sall to conduct an election before his tenure ends on April 2, fifteen of 19 presidential candidates, in a statement on Tuesday, condemned Mr Sall’s delay in fixing a new date for the election, calling it a “constitutional coup.”

“An inexplicable slowness has been noted. Nothing has been done despite developments over the past week,” the 15 candidates said.

They added that “Everything suggests that Macky Sall cannot come to terms with the fact that his attempt to sabotage the presidential election was thwarted by the Constitutional Council and the people.” 

Senegal’s election, which was earlier scheduled for February 25th, was delayed by Mr Sall’s unanimous postponement, ratified by a faction of the parliament after opposition members were forced out of the National Assembly.

The National Assembly endorsed an election delay to December 15, which will see Mr Sall stay in office beyond his constitutional terms that elapse on April 2.

But Senegal’s Constitutional Council ruled election that the delay was unlawful, ordering that an election should be conducted.

After the apex court’s ruling, Mr Sall agreed to conduct “election as soon as possible” but without stating a definite date as to when the election will be conducted.

Mr Sall’s silence afterwards has elicited suspicion as many opposition candidates fear he wants to stay in office beyond April 2.

Since 1960, Senegal has enjoyed stable democracy, despite being surrounded by neighbouring countries notorious for coup d’état and military takeovers. 

With Mr Sall’s election postponement and his failure to fix a new date for the election despite a court ruling, Senegal could be thrown into crisis.

Mr Sall, 62, who assumed power in 2012, already set a precedence as the president who got Senegal’s election calender disrupted with election postponement. 

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