Foreign News

Senegal polls to proceed despite Wade’s boycott call – govt

The February 24 presidential elections in Senegal will go ahead as planned despite a boycott call by former president and opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade.

The assurance was given on Wednesday by Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, the Senegalese Interior Minister, a response that came barely 24-hours after Wade’s call.

Election material has already been sent to various cities across the country, the minister confirmed: “We also transported all the equipment from Dakar. So all the main and sub-districts of Dakar as well as the all the administrations have received the different kits concerning the polling stations in their constituency. Today we are beginning the deployment of the most remote regions.”

On Tuesday, former President Abdoulaye Wade called on the population to peacefully oppose a rigged” vote in his opinion. He had also alluded to the polls being a threat to security.

“Our action will be peaceful, respectful of the law and regulations,” he stressed, explaining that the party he founded, the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), was preparing a programme of action with other opposition parties.

Campaigns for the February 24 presidential election in Senegal began on February 3. Five candidates will contest the vote, including incumbent Macky Sall who is seeking second and final term in office.

The most significant development in the lead up to the vote being the disqualification of two persons seen as major aspirants.

Khalifa Sall, a former mayor of Dakar (no relation to President Sall,) and Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, were jailed for graft and corruption in 2018 and 2015 respectively.

Under Senegalese law, the sentences effectively ended their chances of running for president, a decision confirmed by the Constitutional Council. Attendant protests against the ruling were dispersed by security forces.

The President is running on the platform of his coalition Benno Bokk Yaakar (BBY); his main opponent is seen in former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck of Rewmi and Madické Niang, candidate for Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS).

The other two candidates are Issa Sall of the Party of Unity and Coming Together (PUIR) and Ousmane Sonko of the Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Brotherhood (Pastef).

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