Senegal: National Assembly validates new electoral Code

Senegal: National Assembly validates new electoral Code

The Senegalese Parliament validated on Monday by a majority vote the bill establishing a new electoral Code.

Meeting in extraordinary session, the deputies voted after stormy debates on the new electoral Code which was however intended to be consensual.

A political dialogue had been launched in January 2020 to produce a document approved by the various stakeholders, namely the majority, the opposition, the non-aligned and civil society.

The points of agreement were to be ratified by the President of the Republic, whose arbitration was also expected on the points of contention.

“All these months of dialogue have led to nothing. Crucial points such as the use of the single ballot for the presidential election or the establishment of an independent body for the organization of elections, all demanded by the opposition, have not been taken into account,” said Déthié Fall, an opposition deputy.

The Minister of the Interior and Security, Antoine Félix Diome, who came to defend the draft, said that the points on which there was no consensus were not retained.

“165 meetings were held in 20 months to arrive at the new electoral code. The content and drafting of the 65 articles were the subject of a consensus of all actors,” said Diome.

The Minister of the Interior also provided details on articles 29 and 30, which, according to opposition parliamentarians, aim to exclude potential candidates for the 2024 presidential election, such as the former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall, the declared candidate of the Senegalese Democratic Party Karim Wade, and MP Ousmane Sonko.

These articles disqualify “those convicted of offenses punishable by up to five years in prison. “How to target a person with something in progress for several years,” Diome questioned, assuring that these articles have not changed since the 1992 Code. The modification of these articles has been at the table of consultations without a consensus being found, said the minister, not excluding further consultations on the subject.

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