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Ex-Senegal President Wade, 91, wades into town to fight for legislative seat

Ex-Senegal President Wade, 91, wades into town to fight for legislative seat


Former Senegalese president, Aboulaye Wade on Monday returned to the West African country to participate in upcoming parliamentary elections.

The 91-year-old was received by a huge crowd as he left the airport in the capital, Dakar. It was announced in May that he was to lead a coalition of parties in the legislative polls.

Campaign for the late July polls has opened and is expected to last for about three weeks.

Wade, who served as president between 2000 and 2012 is leading the Democratic party which hopes to wrestle power from the Macky Sall led ruling coalition.

His party comrades say Wade’s come-back to politics sends a message to young people. “He will try to do the campaign as he can. And the most important is the dynamic aspect of it for a former president to come back as a simple candidate.

“It is a great lesson for African youths. Therefore just his presence satisfies us. The rest will be done by youths of the coalition for future victories,” one activist said.

Wade will however be leading one side of the opposition with the other headed by former Mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall, who was jailed in March over allegations of embezzling about $2.9 million.

His lawyers have filed for provisional release to enable him participate in the polls. His supporters insist that he should be freed and denounce an attempt to eliminate a political opponent who will be campaigning from the cell.

Rama Diop, one of his supporters said, “He is courageous. He has been helping people a lot. Let me say here that the whole of Dakar is behind him.”

Although without unity going into the polls, the opposition hopes to win the July 30 legislative elections so as to make things difficult for Macky Sall. The election will also be a test for the opposition two years before the presidential election.

Photo credit: @benja_roger

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