Home » Senegal’s Presidential Race Without Key Contenders as Sonko Excluded from Final Candidate List

Senegal’s Presidential Race Without Key Contenders as Sonko Excluded from Final Candidate List

Constitutional Council Releases Presidential Candidate List Excluding Ousmane Sonko and Karim Wade

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

Senegal’s Constitutional Council has released the final list of 20 candidates for the upcoming presidential election in February. Notably absent from the list are opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and Karim Wade, the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade.

The decision has significant implications for the presidential race, as both Sonko and Wade were seen as prominent figures in Senegalese politics. President Macky Sall, who had previously ruled out seeking a third term in July, will hand over power after two terms in office.

The exclusion of Sonko and Wade comes after a period of political turmoil and violence in Senegal, which has traditionally been known for its stability in the West African region.

The list of approved candidates includes Prime Minister Amadou Ba, who has been hand-picked by President Sall as his successor. Also included are former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall and former prime minister Idrissa Seck.

The Constitutional Council cited a suspended sentence related to a defamation case as the reason for Sonko’s ineligibility to run in the election. Sonko, a firebrand opposition leader at the age of 49, has been entangled in various legal battles since 2021. While authorities deny any political motivation behind the cases, public backlash to his treatment has led to unrest.

There were initial concerns that Sonko’s exclusion could trigger further protests. However, these fears have subsided following President Sall’s announcement that he will not exploit a 2016 constitutional reform to reset his mandate—a tactic often used by leaders in the region to extend their stay in power.

As a result, the upcoming election on February 25 will be the first in Senegal’s history where an incumbent president does not seek re-election after completing two terms.

Another significant absentee from the candidate list is Karim Wade, who, along with Khalifa Sall, had their hopes of running in the previous presidential race dashed due to legal convictions. Both individuals have received presidential pardons since then. However, Wade is allegedly ineligible this time due to holding dual citizenship when he submitted his candidacy.

With Sonko and, apparently, Wade out of the race, there is no clear frontrunner at this stage. All eyes are on President Sall’s chosen successor, Amadou Ba, as well as long-time opponents Khalifa Sall and former premier Idrissa Seck, who is making his fourth bid for the presidency.

The final candidate list also features Bassirou Diomaye Faye, nominated by members of Sonko’s now-dissolved Pastef party as a back-up candidate in case of Sonko’s disqualification. Faye, like Sonko, is currently in detention, but he remains eligible to run since there has been no ruling on the charges against him, which include defamation and contempt of court.

Political analysts have weighed in on the upcoming election, suggesting that it is unlikely any candidate will secure over 50% of the vote in the first round, necessitating a runoff. Mamadou Sy Albert, a political analyst, stated, “Whether it’s Amadou Ba or the opposition … it’s difficult to envisage a victory in the first round. It’s very undecided.”

Albert also highlighted divisions within President Sall’s party and expressed concerns that Ba has never contested a presidential election, unlike most of his main opponents.

As Senegal prepares for a pivotal presidential election, the exclusion of key contenders like Ousmane Sonko and Karim Wade has introduced an element of uncertainty into the political landscape, setting the stage for a closely watched and unpredictable race.

You may also like

logo white

Born from an unwavering commitment to the nation’s progress, we stand as an emblem of independent journalism dedicated to serving the interests of progressive Nigerians from every corner of our diverse and vibrant country.

© 2024 The Nigerian Patriot. All Rights Reserved.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com