Home ECONOMY Senegal’s Election Turmoil: Delay, Dissolution, And Amnesty Law

Senegal’s Election Turmoil: Delay, Dissolution, And Amnesty Law

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Senegal to hold delayed presidential election on March 24 amidst political unrest and protests.

Wednesday’s cabinet announcement follows a court ruling, declaring President Macky Sall’s plan for post-term vote unconstitutional.

Sall also dissolved the government on Wednesday, replacing Prime Minister Amadou Ba with Interior Minister Sidiki Kaba. The presidency said that change would help Ba, who is the ruling coalition’s presidential candidate, focus on his electoral campaign.

In Senegal, Sall’s election delay triggers unrest and threatens democratic stability.

The crisis had prompted an emergency meeting of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc in an attempt to calm widespread violence.

Constitutional Council rejects June 2 vote proposal as unconstitutional.

Council’s decision hailed as a victory for Senegalese democracy, new election date brings relief, reports Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque from Dakar.

Sall delayed vote citing electoral disputes, opposition calls it institutional coup attempt.

Opposition presidential candidate Anta Babacar, who was among the majority of the 19 contenders in the race pushing for the vote to be held as soon as possible, welcomed the announcement.

“At the end of the day, the question is why did he postpone it in the first place?” Babacar told Al Jazeera. “He talked about an institutional crisis, [but] today we have the proof that Senegal is in no form of crisis.”

Amnesty law

Parliament approves Sall’s amnesty law to ease tensions amid opposition standoff.

Law grants amnesty to hundreds accused of antigovernment protest crimes in past three years.

Opposition and rights groups warn policy may shield security forces from accountability, leading to protester deaths.

HRW criticizes draft law for enabling impunity, citing 40 deaths in clashes since March 2021 with no accountability.

HRW reports up to 1,000 opposition members, including leaders, journalists, and activists, arrested from March 2021 to January 2023. Also among them are top opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.

Political unrest fueled by allegations of Sall’s power grab and silencing of opponents, which he denies.

“It is a denial of the right to truth, justice and transparency,” Ousmane Diallo of Amnesty International told Al Jazeera. “Saying that an amnesty law will be voted in Senegal after saying for three years that investigations have been going on, the killing of more than 60 people and the detentions of a thousand people, it’s a denial of justice.”

A new round of protests broke in February after Sall announced the plan to postpone the elections.

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