Senegalese President Postpones February 25 Presidential Election Indefinitely

Senegal’s President Macky Sall Agrees to Step Down in April but Does Not Set Election Date

Macky Sall, Senegal's President

Senegal’s President, Macky Sall, has declared his intention to step down from office as his term concludes on April 2nd, although he refrained from announcing a specific election date.

During a televised interview, President Sall stated that the decision regarding the election date would be part of political discussions involving all parties, scheduled to commence on Monday.

A recent decision by President Sall to postpone the vote from its original date on Sunday to mid-December sparked violent protests across the country. This decree was subsequently deemed unconstitutional by Senegal’s top court last week.

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Concerns arose following the postponement, with many fearing that the President might indefinitely extend his leadership, particularly in a region historically plagued by coups and military regimes.

President Sall indicated that the election date would be determined following a “national dialogue” beginning on Monday, inclusive of government representatives, opposition figures, and members of civil society. He cited insufficient time to elect a new president by April 2nd but emphasized that the forum would address any resulting implications.

In a gesture of goodwill, President Sall expressed readiness to release the prominent opposition figure, Ousmane Sonko, from prison. Sonko’s arrest last year had triggered nationwide protests.

Since the Constitutional Council’s ruling against the postponement, numerous opponents of the president have been released. However, President Sall’s failure to set a new election date may fuel suspicions among his critics of further delaying tactics.

The opposition remains resolute in their determination to continue protesting and exerting pressure on the president to announce a definitive election date.

President Sall, having served two terms, initially pledged not to overstay his welcome when first elected in 2012. However, his recent televised interview has yet to fully restore Senegal’s reputation as a bastion of democracy within an increasingly authoritarian region.

Source: BBC