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Senegal presidential candidates unite for swift elections

People shout slogans during a protest against the possibility of President Macky Sall to run for a third term in the presidential elections next year in Dakar, Senegal, Friday   -  
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Leo Correa/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


In Senegal, fifteen out of the twenty candidates approved to contest in the delayed presidential elections have united in a call for the vote to be conducted no later than April 2nd, coinciding with the end of President Macky Sall's term.

These candidates, including notable figures like Bassirou Diomaye Faye and former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall, emphasized the importance of adhering to the electoral schedule and insisted that the candidate list should remain unchanged.

President Sall's proposal to postpone the elections for several months to resolve disputes over candidate eligibility faced a setback when the country's highest court deemed the delay unconstitutional. In response, Sall expressed his commitment to organizing the elections "as soon as possible."

Amidst these developments, protests have erupted in Dakar, with demonstrators urging President Sall to expedite the electoral process. Hundreds of people took to the streets, chanting slogans against Sall's perceived authoritarian tendencies and demanding the release of imprisoned opposition figures.

The postponement of the presidential election initially scheduled for February 25th stirred controversy, leading to clashes between protesters and security forces. The Constitutional Council's ruling against the delay underscored the imperative of holding timely and transparent elections to uphold democratic norms in Senegal.

President Sall's denial of accusations regarding intentions to prolong his tenure has not quelled public dissatisfaction, as both local and international pressure mounts for a swift resolution to the political impasse. 

The U.S. Bureau of African Affairs, in a statement on social media, applauded the Constitutional Council's decision, emphasizing the importance of restoring Senegal's democratic trajectory through a timely electoral process.

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