DAKAR, SENEGAL - The leader of Senegal's main opposition group said Wednesday that it would not participate in future elections because the parliamentary polls that delivered a large majority to the ruling coalition were a "masquerade."
President Macky Sall's coalition took 125 seats in the 165-seat National Assembly after winning nearly half the vote, according to results announced Friday.
The coalition of former President Abdoulaye Wade, 91, whom Sall defeated in a 2012 presidential election, won 19 seats. Another led by Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall, who has been detained in a corruption probe for the past six months that his supporters say is politically motivated, won seven seats.
"The coordination of opposition parties Wattu Senegal ... will no longer participate in any election of any kind organized by the government of Macky Sall," Wade said in a statement on TV. "It will oppose by all means any attempt by Macky Sall to organize a similar masquerade at a national level."
The peaceful and well-organized 2012 poll reinforced Senegal's reputation as one of West Africa's most stable democracies. But in last month's legislative poll, many hundreds of Senegalese voters were prevented from casting ballots because of delays in issuing biometric voting cards, prompting the opposition to cry foul.
Opposition leaders have criticized Sall for trying to stamp out opposition. Demonstrations in Dakar are often blocked by tear gas-wielding police.
The next presidential election is in 2019.