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Analyst Sees Senegalese Opposition Divided

  • James Butty

Members of a Senegalese anti-government youth movement Y En A Marre [We're Fed Up] chant slogans during a rally against President Abdoulaye Wade, in the capital Dakar, January 27, 2012.

Members of a Senegalese anti-government youth movement Y En A Marre [We're Fed Up] chant slogans during a rally against President Abdoulaye Wade, in the capital Dakar, January 27, 2012.

A Senegalese political analyst said it appears that some of the country’s opposition leaders have decided to participate in this month’s presidential election rather than protest President Abdoulaye Wade’s bid for a third term.

Campaigning for the February 26 election begins Sunday.

Meanwhile, Senegalese police clashed again Wednesday with rock-throwing student protesters in the capital, Dakar.

Abdou Lo said there seems to be a lack of unity in the ranks of the opposition.

He said Wednesday’s protest was over the death of a student during Tuesday’s rioting.

“Those clashes were caused by the death of the student who was killed by the police during the Tuesday riot. So, the person who died was a student and, on Wednesday, his colleagues from the University of Dakar decided to fight back,” he said.

As the opposition regroups, a spokesman for Wade has described the protest as a failure. Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye reportedly said Wade holds a majority in Senegal.

Lo said there is lack of unity among the various opposition groups.

“What happened on Tuesday is that, while the young people wanted to the leaders to march toward the state house, the political leaders did not want that and there was a clash between the political leaders and the crowd,” Lo said.

Campaigning for the February 26 election begins Sunday and Lo said some of the opposition leaders have decided to begin campaigning.

“At least two of the major leaders have clearly said that they will start their campaign on Sunday. So, it means they will compete against President Wade in the election. So, you see, the movement is split now into two. Some want to campaign while others do not because they say Wade does not have the legitimacy,” he said.

Lo said it is a wild calculation for some of the opposition leaders who have chosen to participate in the election to believe that they can beat Wade.

“I don’t how certain they can be, but what I am sure [of] is that, since President Wade and the government kept saying during the last months and year that the Constitutional Court will validate their candidacy and the Constitutional Court has done just that, the same person keeps saying that they [President Wade and his party] will win the on the first ballot of the election,” Lo said.

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