The decision to postpone the Presidential elections in Senegal was well received by the former ruling Democratic Party whose presidential candidate is Karim Wade
Wade’s supporters were seen celebrating the postponement of the February 25 presidential election by President Macky Sall.
The decision follows, among other things, the dispute between their candidate and the Constitutional Council, accused of corruption by the former ruling party.
“We magnify this decision because it is a decision that renders justice. We magnify this decision by the President of the Republic to postpone the elections, because we could not organize these elections without brother Abdou Karim Meïssa Wade, who is the only viable, reliable alternative for the emergence of this country,” said Franck Daddy Diatta, a youth leader of Jeunesse Liberale.
Several opposition figures rejected President Macky Sall’s decision to postpone the election, with at least two of the 20 presidential candidates saying they would proceed with their campaign scheduled to kick off on Sunday.
Sall’s tenure is scheduled to end on April 2. Senegal’s electoral code requires 80 days’ notice of an election, meaning the earliest a new vote could take place is the last week of April.
“I am launching my electoral campaign tomorrow, in Dakar, with the candidates who have chosen to defend the Constitution,” former minister and opposition candidate Thierno Alassane Sall said Saturday in a post on social media platform X.
Former mayor of the capital of Dakar Khalifa Sall also asked the citizens to “come together to save our democracy” while another opposition candidate, Déthié Fall, said, “We will start our campaign and we call on all candidates to do the same.”
There were no signs of unrest in Dakar on Sunday.
The U.S. Department of State noted Senegal’s “strong tradition of democracy and peaceful transitions of power” in a post on X, which urged “all participants in (the) electoral process to engage peacefully to swiftly set a new date and the conditions for a timely, free and fair election.”
In postponing the election, Sall cited a dispute between the judiciary and federal lawmakers over the disqualification process and the reported dual nationality of some qualified candidates.
His announcement followed a request to postpone the vote made by the opposition Senegalese Democratic Party, whose candidate Karim Wade was among those disqualified.
Wade had accused two judges of corruption in the disqualification process and said that postponing the vote would “make it possible to repair the damage suffered” by those disqualified.
West Africa’s regional bloc on Sunday called for dialogue to resolve the political crisis.
Senegalese politicians must “prioritize dialogue and collaboration for transparent, inclusive and credible elections,” the regional bloc known as ECOWAS said in a statement that called on authorities to “expedite the various processes to set a new date for the elections” after Saturday’s postponement.
Analysts say the crisis is putting one of Africa’s most stable democracies to the test at a time when the region is struggling with a recent surge in coups. Senegal has been embroiled in political tensions as a result of deadly clashes involving opposition supporters and the disqualification of two opposition leaders ahead of the crucial vote.