Senegal’s President Macky Sall has indefinitely postponed the presidential election that was scheduled to take place on February 25.
Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Saturday, the president announced he had cancelled the relevant electoral law, citing a dispute over the candidate list.
Sall said he signed a decree abolishing a November 2023 measure that had set the original election date.
“I will initiate an open national dialogue to bring together the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election in a peaceful and reconciled Senegal,” he said, without giving a new date.
The announcement comes after the Constitutional Council last month excluded some prominent opposition members from the list of candidates.
The decision brought the integrity of the election process into question and fuelled growing discontent, with excluded candidates saying the rules for candidacy were not applied fairly – something the authorities have denied.
“These troubled conditions could seriously undermine the credibility of the ballot by sowing the seeds of pre- and post-electoral disputes,” Sall said, explaining why he delayed the vote.
The opposition Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), whose candidate Karim Wade was among those excluded from running in the election, had earlier submitted a formal request to postpone the vote.
However, the opposition PASTEF Party did not approve of the decision to pause the election. “We feel this is a constitutional coup,” Yassine Fall, Pastef’s vice president, told Al Jazeera.
“Macky Sall is not doing this for us, he is doing this against us,” she said. “Macky Sall understands that if we go to elections, we will win by a landslide victory. But he wants to stay in power or have someone from his party to be elected. This is why he plays these kinds of games to come and manipulate the institutions illegally.”
This is the first time a Senegalese presidential election has been postponed.