Senegal votes for legislators amid growing political bitterness

DAKAR, July 31 (Reuters) – Senegal is voting on Sunday in legislative elections that pit President Mackie Saal’s ruling party against an opposition coalition active in food price hikes and fears that Saal could run for a controversial third term. can run for

Omar Ba, one of the first to vote in Dakar, said, “We have come to choose those who will sit for us in parliament. Above all, we expect them to help us through this period of inflation and to reduce prices.” Huh.” Pickin Neighborhood.

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 breach the term limit that runs into 2024. Read more

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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.

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. read more

The coalition is hoping to build on gains made during January’s municipal elections in gaining control of Senegal’s major cities.

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.

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Came to power in 2012 and was re-elected in 2019. He has 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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Written by Aaron Ross and Bette Felix; Editing by Christina Fincher and Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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