The Senegalese Constitutional Council released Monday the list of five presidential candidates on February 24, including outgoing head of state Macky Sall, but without his two main opponents, the former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall and the former Minister Karim Wade.
The “seven sages” unsurprisingly rejected the candidacy of Karim Wade, former minister and son of former president Abdoulaye Wade (2000-2012), and Khalifa Sall, dissident of the Socialist Party, who had nevertheless collected the required number of sponsorships (about 52,000 signatures) but are hit by court convictions.
In addition to that of Macky Sall, the Council validated the candidatures of the deputy Ousmane Sonko, rising figure of the opposition, of the former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, a close friend of Abdoulaye Wade, Madické Niang, and the candidate of the Party of Unity and Rally ( PUR ), El Hadji Sall.
It will still have to decide on 20 January on the possible complaints of the candidates, before publishing the final list.
Senegal, which experienced two alternations in 2000 and 2012, and no coup, is a model of democracy in the region. But international and regional organizations as well as NGOs , have denounced the “unfair” nature of certain trials, notably those of Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall, or restrictions on civil liberties.
The representative of the former mayor of Dakar, Babacar Thioye Ba, has announced an appeal against this decision, denouncing “a judicial lie”. “We must understand from now on, and with us all the Senegalese people, that it is time to put an end to the crimes of Macky Sall,” he told Nigeria News .
The Senegalese Democratic Party ( PDS , liberal), which has invested Karim Wade and officially did not provide a “plan B” in case of invalidation of his candidacy, has not reacted immediately. But Madické Niang, who is among the five retained by the Constitutional Council, could represent a “recourse”, according to some leaders of the party.
To dismiss Karim Wade’s candidacy as “inadmissible”, the Council raised his sentence in 2015 to six years in prison for “unlawful enrichment” and the words “person not registered on the electoral roll” on the identity card in his passport. folder.
Petition for a debate
In a letter sent on 11 January to members of the Council, several eminent Senegalese and French jurists, including a former president of the European Court of Human Rights ( ECHR), had nevertheless considered this candidacy valid.
They argued that the Ministry of the Interior did not have the power to strike Karim Wade out of the electoral rolls, “the deprivation of vote can only result from an express decision of justice”.
Sentenced to five years in jail for “swindle on public money”, Khalifa Sall, in detention for almost two years and whose cassation appeal was dismissed January 3, “can no longer claim his quality “according to the Constitutional Council.
Thousands of supporters of Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall have demonstrated in recent months to demand “fair and transparent” elections, accusing the Justice and Interior Minister of organizing the vote.
An internet petition demanding the organization of a debate among all candidates has garnered several thousand signatures. Invested candidate by a broad coalition on December 1, Macky Sall, elected in 2012 against Abdoulaye Wade, aims for reelection in the first round, according to his relatives.
During the inauguration ceremony, in the presence of Ivorian presidents Alassane Ouattara, Gambian Adama Barrow, Liberian George Weah, Mauritanian Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Prime Minister Benin-Guinean Aristide Gomes, he pledged to bring the country “more far and higher “.
The Head of State, which multiplies the trips illustrating the achievements of his first mandate, inaugurated Monday afternoon the line of TER (regional express train) connecting Dakar to the new city of Diamniadio, whose commercial exploitation is however not expected for several months.
He planned to start his election campaign on February 3 in Mbacké (center), to conclude his tour of the country on February 22 in Dakar, according to media reports.
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