Opposition forces held a rally on the outskirts of Senegal’s capital Dakar on Monday to protest the assumed candidature of current President Abdoulaye Wade in next month’s elections.
Babou Birame Faye, a spokesperson for Ousmane Tanor Dieng, who is the Socialist Party candidate for president, said the opposition and civil society groups are still hoping to convince Wade to forgo a third run for office.
“He had two mandates, then Abdoulaye Wade will not be a part of this next election," said Faye. "The opposition is against this candidature of Abdoulaye Wade.”
Some Senegalese constitutional experts say a third term for Wade is illegal according to the country’s constituiona, which was changed during Wade’s first term to allow presidents to only serve two terms. But Wade’s camp says since the rules were changed during his first term in office, the two term limit only began to apply to Wade in his second term.
Faye said Monday’s rally, taking place in the Dakar suburb of Guiediwaye, is important to the future of the country. “Today we’ll go to Guiediawaye here in Dakar to rule against the candidature of Abdoulaye Wade. We know that peace in Senegal is in the hands of Abdoulaye Wade.”
The protest was spearheaded by the M23 coalition, a movement named for protests that began on June 23. Since then, the M23 coalition has continued its calls for political change on the 23rd of every month. “The important thing that Abdoulaye Wade can do is to be out of the election. If not, I think that Senegal will be in trouble,” Faye warned.
He added there is still time for Wade to drop out of the election, as the current president has not yet submitted his paperwork to the Constitutional Council, the body that decides who is eligible to run. The deadline to submit to the council is January 26, and they are expected to decide by the end of the month who will be on the ballots.