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Senegal: Ousmane Sonko will not be able to re-register on the electoral rolls

Senegal: Ousmane Sonko will not be able to re-register on the electoral rolls
This photograph taken on August 19, 2023 at Place de la Republique in Paris shows   -  
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KIRAN RIDLEY/AFP or licensors


A department of the Senegalese interior ministry on Tuesday refused to accept the electoral commission's request to reinstate opposition politician Ousmane Sonko on the electoral roll and to issue him with documents essential to his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election.

In a response to a letter from the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (Cena), the Directorate General of Elections said that it "has no jurisdiction to take any action on the electoral roll".

The DGE does not specify who has this authority.

In its letter to the DGE, the Cena had written that Mr Sonko should "enjoy his status as a voter registered on the electoral roll with all the rights (that are) attached".

Mr Sonko has been removed from the electoral roll, which prevents him from competing in the presidential election. The government essentially argued that Mr Sonko's conviction in absentia in a vice case in June justified his removal from the electoral roll. Mr Sonko, who has been in prison since the end of July on other charges, denounced these cases as plots to keep him out of the presidential election.

A judge in the southern town of Ziguinchor ordered on 12 October that Mr Sonko, a leading figure in the country's political life, be disbarred.

On 12 October, a judge in Ziguinchor (southern Senegal) ordered that Mr Sonko, the central figure in a turbulent and violent political and legal saga with the State that has been holding Senegal in suspense for two and a half years, be reinstated on the lists.

However, the Ministry of the Interior has so far refused to issue him with the official forms that would enable him to collect his sponsorships, a necessary step in submitting his candidacy.

The Cena "invites the Direction générale des élections to take the necessary measures to ensure that the sponsorship form is made available to Mr Ousmane Sonko's representative as soon as possible", it said in its letter.

In its response, which was made public, the DGE said that it had not given the forms to Mr Sonko's representatives because he was not on the lists, a position confirmed by the Supreme Court on 6 October.

The Cena controls and supervises the electoral process, from registration on the lists to the provisional proclamation of results. The elections are organised by the Ministry of the Interior.

However, a spokesperson for the Cena admitted to AFP that the commission could not compel the interior ministry to do so.

On Tuesday, Mr Sonko's lawyers challenged the refusal to issue him with sponsorship forms before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of African States (ECOWAS).

The regional court has decided to give itself until 6 November to settle any disputes relating to this case.

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