Senegal: Court rules govt’s delay of presidential poll was ‘unlawful’

Senegal: Court rules govt’s delay of presidential poll was ‘unlawful’

Senegal’s Constitutional Council, the country’s top election authority, ruled on Thursday that the president’s postponement of a presidential election scheduled for 25 February and its rescheduling for 14 December was unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Council therefore voided the decree signed by President Macky Sall that postponed the presidential election, according to a judgement approved by seven members of the body. The National Assembly’s move on February 5 to reschedule the vote for December was “contrary to the constitution”, the judgement said. “The constitutional council, noting the impossibility of organizing the presidential election on the date initially planned, invites the competent authorities to hold it as soon as possible,” it added.

The postponement has thrown the country into political turmoil, with opposition presidential candidates and lawmakers having filed several legal challenges to last week’s parliamentary bill described by many as an “institutional coup.”

It was not immediately clear if the election could go forward as initially scheduled, or whether more time would be needed to allow for political campaigns.

Macky Sall, who has been in power since 2012, sparked uproar on February 3 when he called off the elections over disputes about the disqualification of potential candidates and concern about a repeat of the unrest seen in 2021 and 2023. The Parliament approved Sall’s decree two days later but only after security forces stormed the building and removed some opposition lawmakers who opposed the bill.

Meanwhile, at least three people have died and scores more have been arrested in the ensuing protests against the delayed presidential elections.

So far, Macky Sall did not immediately make any public comments in reaction to the Constitutional Council’s ruling.

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