France calls for postponed Senegal vote to be held 'as soon as possible'

Senegal © Capture d'écran Facebook / Macky Sall
© Capture d'écran Facebook / Macky Sall

Senegal should end "uncertainty" created by President Macky Sall's announcement that an election scheduled for February 25 would be postponed indefinitely, France said Sunday, calling for a vote "as soon as possible".

"We call on authorities to end the uncertainty about the electoral calendar so the vote can be held as soon as possible, under the rules of Senegalese democracy," Paris' foreign ministry said in a statement as Senegal's political crisis deepens.

The intervention from Paris, the former colonial power in Senegal, came as opposition presidential candidates called for a Sunday afternoon demonstration in Dakar.

They said they would launch their campaigns in defiance of the official postponement.

Rare example of democratic stability

Senegal has traditionally been seen as a rare example of democratic stability in West Africa, which has been hit by a series of coups in recent years including in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Washington and West African bloc Ecowas both expressed concern and called for a swift new vote following Sall's Saturday announcement.

The president said a conflict between the Constitutional Council and parliament over approvals of presidential candidacies had led to the suspension of the vote.

Opponents suspect that the president's camp fear the defeat of his anointed successor, Prime Minister Amadou Ba.

Senegal cannot "indulge in a fresh crisis" after deadly political violence in March 2021 and June 2023, Sall said Saturday as he announced a "national dialogue" to organise "a free, transparent and inclusive election".

The country's electoral code states that at least 80 days must pass between the announcement of a new presidential vote and polling day -- theoretically putting the soonest possible new date in late April at the earliest.

Sall's presidential term is supposed to end on April 2.

(With newswires)

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