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Senegal: Agreement reached to review the trial of an opponent

Senegal: Agreement reached to review the trial of an opponent
Karim Wade, former senegalese minister greets supporters as he leaves a police station after questioning, in Colobane, a neighborhood of Dakar, on December 20, 2012.   -  
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Participants in a national consultation aimed at easing political tensions eight months before the presidential election have agreed in principle to review the trial of an opponent who has been ruled out of the 2019 election because of his legal problems, his party said on Thursday.

Karim Wade, the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, who was in power from 2000 to 2012, was sentenced in 2015 to six years in prison on charges of illicit enrichment. A former minister of state under his father's regime, Mr. Wade, 58, was pardoned in 2016 by President Macky Sall, and has since been exiled in Qatar.

"Civil society and all the parties (majority, non-aligned and opposition) have consensually agreed to a review of Mr. Karim Wade's trial", Nafissatou Diallo, national communications secretary for the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), told AFP on Thursday.

At this stage, the consultations have not lifted the vagueness over whether Mr. Wade will take part in the February 2024 presidential election, or that of opponent Khalifa Sall, who has also been prevented from standing in 2019 due to legal problems.

In the case of Karim Wade, Ms. Diallo asserts that he "has been a voter and eligible since August 2020". This is because, she says, his automatic ineligibility period of five years following his conviction has expired.

In a document authenticated by AFP, a political committee of the "national dialogue" launched by President Macky Sall on Wednesday proposed amending the electoral law to allow those who have been struck off the list to regain their right to vote and stand for election.

This amendment would allow Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall to stand as candidates in 2024.

The case of opposition politician Ousmane Sonko, who was sentenced on 1 June to two years' imprisonment in a vice-related case, was not discussed by the committee. This conviction renders him ineligible for the 2024 presidential election. At the beginning of June, it led to the worst unrest in the country for several years, resulting in 16 deaths according to the authorities, 24 according to Amnesty International and 30 according to the opposition.

The "dialogue" proposals will be submitted to President Macky Sall, who is due to address the nation at the end of the national dialogue.

The Senegalese president, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019, remains unclear whether he will seek a third term in 2024.

In a video widely shared on social networks on Wednesday, Mr. Sall promised his supporters "victory in 2024" during a trip to Paris, without officially declaring his candidacy.

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