News / Africa

Senegal's Ruling Party Drops Constitutional Changes After Dakar Riots

Anti-government protesters walk past a burning vehicle and barricades during a demonstration in the capital Dakar, June 23, 2011
Anti-government protesters walk past a burning vehicle and barricades during a demonstration in the capital Dakar, June 23, 2011

Senegal's ruling party is dropping proposed constitutional changes that would make it easier to be elected president, this after opposition demonstrators clashed with riot police outside the National Assembly.

Opponents of President Abdoulaye Wade fought riot police in downtown Dakar, charging toward the National Assembly throwing stones before being pushed back with water cannon and tear gas.

They were protesting constitutional amendments put forward by the ruling party to create the post of vice president and to make it easier to be elected president by lowering the percentage of votes necessary to win outright and avoid a second-round run-off.

That threshold is currently one vote more than 50 percent. The amendment proposed would lower it to 25 percent.

Opposition demonstrators eventually pushed through to occupy the plaza in front of the National Assembly, chanting “Free Our Country” as riot police pulled back to positions inside the parliamentary compound. Other protesters broke off from the main group and fought supporters of the ruling party between Dakar's main Sandaga market and the National Cathedral.

With clouds of tear gas and smoke from burning cars rising above downtown, President Wade's spokesman announced on state-run radio that the ruling party is abandoning changes to the percentage clause.

Justice Minister Cheikh Tidiane Sy told lawmakers that the constitutional article stating that a president must be elected with an absolute majority will remain unchanged. But some members of the ruling party are still pushing for that to be lowered to 25 percent.

Demonstrator Abdu Diene says protesters oppose what he says is President Wade's push to create a vice president so that his son, Karim, can succeed him.

“Something is wrong with Abdoulaye Wade. I don't know. He is a crazy man. He is very bad. He is trying to make these people take his son, Karim. Every one understands,” said Diene.

Emilie Nzale, the national chair of the Dieuf Dieul political party and the deputy mayor of Dakar's Sicap neighborhood, says the Senegalese people will not accept the core values of their ancestors being disrespected by President Abdoulaye Wade, whose role is to preserve the constitution, not to use it as he wants. Nzale says she does not agree with his plan to bring Karim Wade to power, and the president's opponents will continue to fight against that.

The United States and France both expressed concern about the proposed constitutional amendments.

President Wade's spokesman says the ruling party is moving to “reinforce democracy” by better sharing power.





You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid