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Senegal fixes presidential election for March 24 



President Macky Sall

Senegalese President Macky Sall has finally scheduled Senegal’s delayed Presidential elections for March 24th.  

According to a Reuters report, this is following weeks of political turmoil and unrest by the Senegalese people demanding an immediate vote. 

The announcement came on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting held in response to a popular ruling by the country’s top court back in February.

The court ruled that the Outgoing President, Macky Sall’s plan to hold the vote after his term expires on April 2 was unconstitutional. 

The announcement added to the day’s drama with President Macky Sall also dissolving the government and replacing Prime Minister Amadou Ba with Interior Minister Sidiki Kaba. 

According to the presidency, this enables Mr Ba, the ruling coalition presidential candidate, to focus on his electoral campaign. 

This is the latest development in a heated Senegal where Macky Sall’s decision to delay the presidential elections originally slated for February 25, citing errors in the electoral process led to violent protests and warnings from the country’s international allies that its reputation as one of the most stable democracies in a coup hit West Africa was under threat. 

The Council of Ministers in response to the announcement by the president released a statement acknowledging the new date of the elections. 

The new date was also welcomed by the opposition presidential candidate Anta Babacar who is among the 19 major candidates in the race pushing for the vote to be held as soon as possible. 

  • “I think this is very good news. This is the reason why we were fighting for these past weeks and days, because we knew that it was actually possible to hold these elections before April 2,” she told Reuters. 

The Parliament on the same day also approved an amnesty law proposed by Sall in a bid to ease the tensions raised by the opposition and concerned Senegalese citizens. 

The law could grant amnesty to hundreds of opposition members and citizens accused of crimes relating to Anti-government protests and activities in the last three years. 

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), about 40 people have been killed during violent clashes since March 2021. 

Most of the political unrest during Sall’s administration was triggered by concerns that he was trying to crack down on opposing voices and hold on to power after the end of his mandate. 

The latest bout of this violent unrest was triggered when Sall announced his plans to postpone the vote. 

What You Should Know  

  • The violent protests in Senegal after the delayed presidential elections prompted an emergency meeting of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc in an attempt to calm widespread violence 
  • The Human Rights watch confirmed that according to civil society groups and opposition members over 1,000 opposition members, including party leaders, presidential candidates, journalists, and activists were arrested across the country between March 2021 and January 2023.  
  • The Amnesty law proposed by Senegal’s president Macky Sall seeks to grant Amnesty to all those who were detained during the crisis in the country.   

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