Senegal: Is Senegal Heading Towards a Constitutional Crisis?

Senegal's President Macky Sall (file photo)

Speaking to Foroyaa on the subject matter, Halifa Sallah asserted that according to Article 31 of the Constitution of Senegal, the ballot has to take place 45 days at most and 30 days at least before the date of expiration of the mandate of the president which is 2nd April 2024.

He added that the setting aside of the decree nullifying 25th February, 2024 by the president as the date of the 1st ballot of the election in Senegal essentially establishes the same 25th February, 2024 as the date of the election.

"The constitutional council has nullified the extension of the term of the president of Senegal beyond April 2nd 2024 and the holding of election on 15th December 2024. However the constitutional council did what the decree it nullified sought to do, that is, to negate 25th February, 2024 as the date was unrealistic but that the ballot should be held without delay. In effect the date of the election has been suspended indefinitely but must be fixed again in line with the constitution of Senegal.

"This creates a constitutional crisis if a date cannot be fixed at least thirty days before the date of the expiration of the term of the president. Fixing the date is the volition of the president. As the technicality of holding the election as stipulated by the constitution under the mandate which ends on 2nd April becomes elusive, President Macky Sall may begin to examine the possibility of relying on article 39 of the Senegalese constitution which provides for the resignation of the president before the end of his/her mandate. If such a scenario were to be put at play, the president of the national assembly would assume office as president of the republic and would be required under article 31 to ensure that the first ballot shall be held within 60 days at least and 90 days at most after the declaration of vacancy of the office of president.

"I dare say that a heavy burden lies on the shoulders of Macky Sall. The Senegalese nation is now faced with a unique constitutional crisis that its best minds must solve in good faith in the public interest.

"Every crisis is also an opportunity for innovation. A constitutional crisis should not lead to the type of confrontation that would lead to a state of emergency and the suspension of constitutional provisions. The best solution should be found and they could be found. As the old saying goes whenever there is the will there is a way.

"Senegal should prevent the constitutional crisis developing into an institutional crisis. A constitutional council has no power to remove a president for acting unconstitutionally. Hence there is need for each institution to safeguard constitutionality based on the dictates of conscience and love of country and people.

In fact I am writing an open letter to President Macky Sall and the opposition so that all pan Africanists can share opinion on how to save Senegalese democracy and the integrity of its institutions."

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