Senegal: after the pro-Sonko violence, Macky Sall delays

Senegalese President Macky Sall is giving himself until the end of June to provide answers to the ongoing crisis eight months before the presidential election, when he is under pressure from all sides to dispel heavy uncertainties after deadly violence.

Questions abound a week after the eruption that killed at least 16 people, starting with those about the candidacy whether or not of the president upon his re-election in 2024, on the name of those who will be allowed to compete and even on the respect of the calendar.

The events that took place from June 1 to 3, the blow to the economy and the scratch to the image of stability of the country caused a shock. There is widespread concern about a new conflagration for which many conditions remain met, in a tense economic and social context.

The president waited until Wednesday to break the silence before the Council of Ministers. He delivered a message of firmness, speaking of “unprecedented violence”of which “the objective was undoubtedly to sow terror and bring our country to a standstill”reported the presidency.

He expressed his “determination to protect the Nation”. He silenced the trigger that was the condemnation of the opponent Ousmane Sonko on June 1 to two years in prison in a affair of manners.

As it stands, Mr. Sonko, a popular figure among young people and underprivileged circles, can no longer run for president. He shouts at conspiracy to eliminate him politically.

Mr. Sonko is still stuck at his home in Dakar, “sequestered by the regime of Macky Sall”, spokesman for his party Ousseynou Ly told AFP. He is likely to be arrested at any time according to the authorities, at the risk of a flashback.

The president has said nothing about what should happen to him. He kept silent in the face of other heavy questions, such as the fate of opponents Khalifa Sall And Karim Wade.

They themselves were barred by convictions from standing against him in 2019. They too are crying out for the instrumentalization of justiceand they too are candidates in 2024, but still ineligible.

Analysts agree on the observation that the vagueness maintained by the president on his intentions in 2024 constitutes another factor of tension. The no to a third term is a opposition rallying cry.

Mr. Sall was elected in 2012, re-elected in 2019. He had the Constitution in 2016. It states that “no one may serve more than two consecutive terms”. Mr Sall’s supporters are touting him as their candidate in 2024, arguing that the overhaul has reset the counters.

Calls are increasing to the address of the president, of the opposition to give up a third term and to put his disqualified opponents back in the running, but also of economic circles to dispel the fear of the next day.

International partners are closely following developments in a country commonly praised for its stability and democratic practices. Human rights defenders have harshly criticized the crackdown on the unrest and internet restrictions.

Mr. Sall launched on May 31 a “national dialogue” supposed to reduce the tensions. The initiative was boycotted by part of the opposition.

Abruptly addressed by Khalifa Sall on a third term, the president replied that there was no “no taboo” and that the question could be part of the “dialogue”. He then hardened his tone: “To say that I will absolutely not be a candidate, in the name of what? (Of) simple wanting” troublemakers?

Mr Sall said on Wednesday he was waiting for the conclusions of this “dialogue” before June 25. Then, “he will address the Nation”._ He made an unannounced visit Monday evening to the Caliph General of the Mourides, a powerful religious brotherhood, considered to exert considerable influence in politics.

A new proposal has since been added to the debate: Mr. Sall would be ready to give up a third mandate on the condition that his current mandate is extended until 2026 in order to “to restore order in the country”reported the daily The witness. There presidential 2024 would be postponed. The idea immediately divided.

Abdou Rahman Thiamprofessor of political science, believes that President “must speak clearly” and quickly. “This question (of the third term) is so divisive”he said, recalling that she had landed in 2011 with Abdoulaye Wade and that Mr. Sall had then come out against the third term.

As for a two-year extension of the current presidency, that “can only be a trial balloon, it cannot be a solution”he said.

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