Hundreds of protesters demand presidential elections in Senegal in April – Jornal OPaís

Several hundreds of protesters demanded, this Saturday, in the capital of Senegal, Dakar, that the presidential elections be held before April 2, the date on which the mandate of the current President, Macky Sall, ends.

Senegal has been plunged into a serious political crisis since the head of state postponed the presidential elections, initially scheduled for February 25th.

This postponement, denounced as a “constitutional coup d’état” by the opposition, caused public outrage and demonstrations that have already resulted in four deaths.

The Constitutional Council finally overturned Sall’s proposal and the country has been waiting for a new date for the elections ever since.

At the request of the “Resistance Front”, a union of civil society and opposition organizations created on Thursday, several hundred people gathered yesterday on a vast sandy plot of land in a working-class neighborhood of the Senegalese capital.

Many of them wore the colors of Senegal and waved photos of the opponent Ousmane Sonko, detained since the end of July, for “calling for insurrection”, and deprived of running in the presidential elections, after his candidacy was considered invalid.

Sonko now supports the election of Bassirou Diomaye Faye, also detained, but whose candidacy was accepted. “We want there to be elections before April 2nd with the 19 candidates selected by the Constitutional Council and for Senegalese democracy to continue to shine”, explained Assane Camara, a 27-year-old trader.

“Macky Sall dictator”, “Free Sonko”, shouted the protesters, who repeatedly sang a song in honor of the President’s opponent, “Sonko namenaaalaa” (“We miss you, Sonko”, in Ouolof).

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Several political officials representing election candidates addressed the crowd. “What we ask of President Macky Sall is to organize the elections before April 2 and to personally hand over the keys to the palace to his successor, so that we can begin to rebuild our country”, declared Aminata Touré, former prime minister, and member of the “President Bassirou” coalition.

A national dialogue, organized at the beginning of the week by the President and boycotted by the opposition, recommended the organization of elections on June 2. The head of state indicated that he would forward these recommendations “for opinion” to the Constitutional Council.

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