Senegal’s Constitutional Council rejects delay of presidential election

Judicial authority rules postponement of Feb. 25 vote unlawful

The Senegalese Constitutional Council on Thursday declared a law postponing the country’s presidential poll to December “unconstitutional” and annulled a decree by President Macky Sall.

Sall on Feb. 3 announced the indefinite suspension of the Feb. 25 presidential election, citing a dispute over the candidate list and alleged corruption of constitutional judges. The National Assembly then passed a bill postponing the vote until Dec. 15, as security forces stormed the building and removed some opposition lawmakers.

The judicial authority said the law adopted by the legislature at its Feb. 5 session was “contrary to the Constitution.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission urged stakeholders in the electoral process to comply with the decision of the Constitutional Council.

“The commission calls on competent authorities to set a date for the presidential election in accordance with the decision,” it said.

It also called on politicians and other stakeholders to show restraint and give priority to inclusive dialogue.

Noting that it continued to monitor the situation in the country, ECOWAS called for “respect of the rule of law to ensure a free, inclusive and transparent election.”

The Alliance of Sahel States, a regional coalition of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso juntas, also welcomed the Constitutional Council’s decision.

The European Union also called on “all parties” in Senegal to respect the ruling of the Constitutional Council.

This “postponement decision has had a significant impact on the stability and social cohesion of the country,” Nabila Massrali, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

The election delay in the West African country led to violent protests during which three people were killed and dozens of others arrested. The protesters accused Sall of using “fallacious reasons to postpone the election,” just hours before the campaign began.

Last month, the Constitutional Council approved 20 candidates for the presidential election, and campaigns had been scheduled to begin on Feb. 4.


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