News / Africa

    Presidential Politics Gear Up in Senegal

    Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 2011. (file photo)
    Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 2011. (file photo)
    Nick Loomis

    Presidential politics in Senegal is in full swing now that President Abdoulaye Wade's party made official his controversial bid for a third term in the February elections. The announcement has re-ignited a six-month-old opposition movement.

    President Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party [PDS] chose a controversial date to announce a controversial decision. The party confirmed that the president is its candidate for the February 26 election at a rally on Friday, which is the six-month anniversary of one of his biggest political defeats.

    It was on June 23 - in the face of protests and riots - that Wade was forced to withdraw a proposed constitutional referendum to make it easier for him to win the upcoming election in the first round.

    M23 rises


    The popular uprising gave birth to an opposition movement called the June 23 Movement, or M23, in commemoration of the victory.

    Group organizers did not miss the opportunity to celebrate its six-month anniversary, and now to protest Wade's candidacy with another demonstration at the Place d'Obelisque in the heart of Dakar.

    An M23 organizer said Wade will not be a candidate in 2012. He said if the president listens to the people of Senegal, he will stand down before it's too late.

    More than 10,000 people attended the rally - including musical rap group Y'en A Marre  - which debuted its new song  "Faux Pas Forcer."

    Group member Fadel Barro said it is a direct message to the president. He said the message is "don't force" this issue or it could end in chaos.

    Citing constitutional concerns

    Political opponents say Wade’s candidacy is unconstitutional because it violates the 2001 amendment he signed setting a two-term limit for the president. He reaffirmed his commitment to abide by the term limits when he won re-election in 2007.

    He said that he locked the number of terms, so it is not possible for him to run for a third term.

    But now Wade argues that the limit does not apply to him retroactively.

    Minister of Communication Abdourahim Agne said the matter will be resolved next month by the Constitutional Council. The council is a group of jurists appointed by the president.

    Agne said that it is the role of the Constitutional Council to resolve the question of whether the president can legally run - not the street. He said if the street resolves that question, there will be disorder.

    Noting the president's age

    In addition to the legal challenge, opponents also question Wade’s fitness for office at the age of 85.

    Presidential candidate El Hadji Diouf said Wade should listen to, and practice, reason. He added that Wade should know better in his old age.

    Supporters see the president’s age as an advantage.

    Ida Diallo said that Wade is the father of everyone, the grandfather of everyone. She admitted he is old, but said he is still stronger than many younger than him.

    Some Western nations - including several U.S. lawmakers - are pressing Wade not to run, concerned that it could spark unrest in a country that has enjoyed relative stability since it gained its independence 50 years ago.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora