Opposition disputes early results as ruling coalition claims Senegal election victory

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Senegalese President Mackie Sal’s ruling coalition said on Monday it had won 30 of the country’s 46 administrative departments, giving it a slim majority parliament after Sunday’s legislative election.

Former Prime Minister Aminata Torey, who leads the ruling coalition’s list in the legislative election, announced the partial results on national television from party headquarters early Monday after Sunday’s vote.

“It gives us an undisputed majority,” Toure said to cheers from supporters. He did not specify how many of the 165 parliamentary seats the party had won.

Under Senegal’s hybrid electoral system, 97 candidates holding a majority in administrative departments are elected, 53 from national lists using proportional representation, and 15 by Senegalese residing outside the country.

Barthélemy Dias, mayor of the capital Dakar, and a leader of the main opposition coalition, which has been energized by fears of economic hardship and ambitions of a third term of the year, immediately disputed the results announced by Toure, warning that it would be a matter of consequences. He had no place to announce. of election.

“The people will answer, and the people will take to the streets tomorrow, and you will tell us where you got your majority,” Dias said.

The political background in the country of 17.5 million, considered one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, has become increasingly acrimonious, fueled by Saal’s refusal to flout term limits in violation.

Violent protests erupted last year after Sal’s main rival, Osman Sonko, was arrested on rape charges. Sonko, who came third in the last presidential election in 2019, denied the allegations and said they were politically motivated.

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Violent protests erupted again last month after the main opposition coalition’s primary list of parliamentary candidates, which included Sonko, was disqualified on technical grounds. As a result, the coalition’s backup list – consisting mostly of unknown relatives – will be on the ballot.

The coalition, which formed a coalition with another led by 96-year-old former president Abdoulaye Wade, is hoping to build on the opposition’s gains made during January’s municipal election when they gained control of Senegal’s major cities.

Third term ambition?

The ruling Beno Bok Yakar coalition for the year is trying to save a majority of more than three-quarters of the 165 seats in parliament.

“I am sure voters will decide with complete transparency as before,” Sail said after voting.

The sixty-year-old came to power in 2012, ousting Wade, and was re-elected in 2019. He campaigned on big-ticket construction projects such as a high-speed train line and a convention center, as well as oil and gas production. ,

His opponents have captured growing frustrations with the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic and rising fuel and food prices.

Sal’s refusal to publicly decline candidacy in 2024 has raised fears that he will follow in the footsteps of Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and former Guinean President Alfa Condé. Both men stood for a third term in 2020 – and won – arguing that the new constitutions reset their two-term limit.

Senegal adopted constitutional amendments that, among other things, reduced the presidential term in 2016 from seven to five years. Sal declined to comment on its intentions for 2024.

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(Reuters)

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