Senegalese Presidential Candidates Unite in Call for New Election Date

Protest action in Senegal (file Photo)

Fifteen of the 20 candidates who were approved to stand in Senegal's delayed February presidential poll have called for the new vote to be held no later than 2 April, the day President Macky Sall's term officially ends.

"The new polling date and the date for the handover between the president and his successor must be held no later than 2 April", the 15 contenders wrote in a signed letter, published on Monday.

They added that the list of 20 names approved in January should remain the same.

The document was signed by some of the leading contenders, including detained anti-establishment candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye and former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall, who is not related to the president.

It was not signed by Prime Minister Amadou Ba, who is the presidential camp's own candidate.

The letter's signatories expressed "bitterness that, since the decision of the Constitutional Council, no action has been taken by the authorities to implement it".

On Saturday, thousands of Senegalese citizens also joined the first authorised protest in Senegal's capital since President Macky Sall postponed elections.


Sall has said last Friday that he intended to respect the Constitutional Council's ruling and will "carry out the consultations necessary to organise the presidential election as soon as possible".

Sall surprised everyone when he announced the postponement of the 25 February vote just hours before official campaigning was due to begin on 3 February.

The move plunged Senegal into its worst political turmoil in decades.

However, when the top constitutional body overturned the decision last week, it left open the question of the election date, and didn't decide if the ballot will feature the same candidates.

Call for dialogue

The collective Aar Sunu Election is asking for a vote as quickly as possible, on 3 or 10 March, even if it means reducing the campaign time.

For this citizens' collective, the "consultations" with the president must only relate to the voting calendar, and the vote must be held with the candidates already selected by the Constitutional Council.

In the opposition, the former Pastef party and supporters of the candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye also shared in a press release their calls for the election to be held "imperatively before the expiration of the president's mandate" and demanded the release of their candidate in the name of "equal treatment".

But within the majority, voices are pleading for the organisation of a broader national discussion before the vote, and to "take the time for dialogue".

The same demand comes from the candidates who didn't make the list: They want a "national consultation" to "revise the electoral law" and therefore to start the process from scratch.

Among them is Karim Wade, whose PDS party had requested the postponement of the election.

The country is once again awaiting an announcement from the head of state.

(with AFP)

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