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Senegalese President's Son to Head Important Ministry

The son of Senegal's octogenarian president announced Friday he would accept an important government post. Political observers in Senegal have long speculated President Abdoulaye Wade is positioning his son, Karim Wade, to succeed him.

Karim Wade will serve as a minister of state in charge of international cooperation, infrastructure and aviation. He won his first elected position, as a Dakar city councilman, last month. He served previously as an advisor to his father and headed a committee to organize an international Islamic summit hosted last year by Senegal.

Wade told the Senegalese news agency it was "an honor to serve one's country." The newly appointed Senegalese prime minister, Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye, insisted Wade was not chosen because of his father, saying, "above all, he is Senegalese," and citing his background as a businessman overseas.

Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye was appointed Thursday just hours after the previous prime minster resigned. He had been the minister of fisheries and maritime transportation.

Karim Wade's new post is just one among several new appointments as Mr. Ndiaye shuffles the government to create his new Cabinet.

President Wade's Sopi coalition performed poorly in local elections last month, which had been seen as a referendum on his government. Senegal has been held up as a model democracy in West Africa, but critics accuse Mr. Wade of increasingly authoritarian rule.

Analysts note that the new Cabinet increases the number of President Wade's political allies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.