Senegal Constitutional Council confirms 20 candidacies and rejects those of

Senegal: Constitutional Council confirms 20 candidacies and rejects those of Karim Wade and Ousmane Sonko

The Constitutional Council published the final list of candidates for the presidential election on February 25 on Saturday evening. Twenty candidates will be in the race. Karim Wade's initially confirmed candidacy was ultimately rejected due to his dual nationality. Ousmane Sonko is also definitely excluded from the race. On the other hand, several of his deputies will be candidates from the former Pastef party.

Published on: 01/21/2024 – 12:32 am Modified on: 01/21/2024 – 12:34 am

3 mins

With our correspondents in Dakar, Juliette Dubois And Léa-Lisa Westerhoff

The list was published shortly before 10 p.m. on Saturday evening. 20 of them will run in the presidential election on February 25th. A significant increase compared to 2019, when only five of them passed the Constitutional Council test.

First of all, it is a blow for Karim Wade from the PDS, who finally declares his candidacy invalid. One only needs to have Senegalese nationality to hope to become president of Senegal. However, according to the Constitutional Council, Karim Wade only lost his French nationality on January 16, following a decree published in the French Official Gazette. Therefore, the affidavit that he no longer has his dual nationality, which he submitted in his file filed in December, is “inaccurate” for the Seven Wise Men, who nevertheless initially confirmed his candidacy last week.

It was an appointment by another candidate, Thierno Alassane Sall, which sowed doubts and prompted the Constitutional Council to request evidence. It is a huge disappointment and a new setback for the ranks of his K24 coalition. His candidacy had already been declared invalid in 2019 due to his conviction for embezzlement of public funds. Karim Wade, who has been exiled in Qatar since the presidential pardon of Macky Sall in 2016, has not returned to Senegal since then, but his relatives announced an imminent return that now appears to be in jeopardy. And the PDS has not planned a plan B in case the former minister's candidacy is rejected. The party must therefore decide on a new strategy in the coming days.

Ousmane Sonko's appeal was rejected

The appeal of detained opponent Ousmane Sonko, who was excluded from the provisional list, was also rejected. Due to his six-month prison sentence for defamation against Minister Mame Mbaye Niang, the Constitutional Council finally rejected the possibility of putting Ousmane Sonko on the list of candidates. This conviction, confirmed by the Supreme Court on January 4, “bars him for a period of five years,” according to the Constitutional Council’s decision.

Eliminating is therefore the one who was named as one of the potential favorites of the presidential election. “The Constitutional Council has just set the most dangerous precedent in the political history of Senegal,” reacted the spokesman for the dissolved Pastef party, El Malick Ndiaye. Who will replace Ousmane Sonko's candidacy?

Bassirou Diomaye Faye, number 2 of the former Pastef party, has been Ousmane Sonko's party's plan B for several weeks. “It is Diomaye who is Sonko,” we read last night on the opposing party’s spokesman’s Facebook page. The Constitutional Council considered that his preventive detention did not constitute an obstacle to the exercise of his political rights and confirmed his candidacy

Two other options are available if the supporters of Ousmane Sonko, Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, former campaign manager of the opponent in 2019, or Habib Sy, the former chairman of the conference of leaders of the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi, were not sponsored by MPs of the ex -Pastef.

Note that the other confirmed candidates include Prime Minister Amadou Bâ, former heads of government Idrissa Seck and Mahammed Boun Abda Dione, and former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall.