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 Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid