Senegal: Presidential Candidates Unite in Call for New Election Date

    Senegal: Presidential Candidates Unite in Call for New Election Date
    Photo: Xaume Olleros/Stringer/Getty Images Europe via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Fifteen of the 20 opposition candidates cleared to run in Senegal's postponed February presidential elections have demanded in a letter published Monday that President Macky Sall hold new elections and leave office no later than April 2, the day his term expires.

    • The 15 complained that authorities had not taken any action to set a new voting date following the Constitutional Council's ruling that the election postponement was unlawful. They also demanded that the list of the 20 candidates approved in January remain unchanged.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Following the country's Constitutional Council's disqualification of prominent candidates over failures to meet the requirements for candidacy, occurred a disagreement over the list of eligible candidates, necessitating the postponement of the election. Additionally, an opposition party in the National Assembly, not the president, proposed the postponement. The Senegalese president has already made it clear that he does not seek a third term, and his commitment to hold the elections as soon as possible suggests that he will stick to his pledge.

    Narrative B

    The Senegalese president's unprecedented decision to postpone the presidential elections was illegal and has plunged the country into a constitutional crisis. Macky Sall's crackdown on the protests and his attempt to delay the transfer of power amounted to an institutional coup and damaged Senegal's reputation as a democratic model for West Africa. All remaining political prisoners must immediately be released and the government must now enter into talks with the opposition to set a concrete election date before April 2.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 40% chance that Macky Sall will step down as president of Senegal at or before the currently scheduled end of his term, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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