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Senegal on the brink as elections get postponed

Title: Protests and Clashes in Senegal as President Postpones Elections, Sparking Constitutional Crisis

Amid growing tensions, protests and clashes have erupted in Senegal after President Macky Sall announced the last-minute postponement of the upcoming presidential elections, leaving just three weeks to go. Leading opponents, including former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall, have labeled the delay as a “constitutional coup” and called on the people to take to the streets in protest.

The decision to postpone the elections came after lawmakers controversially passed a bill to extend President Sall’s tenure and delay the polls. This move has triggered a constitutional crisis and is now testing Senegal’s electoral integrity and judicial independence, as critics question the motives behind the delay.

Tensions have been simmering for over two years, with the opposition claiming they have been marginalized and excluded from the election process. This sentiment has fueled public discontent and frustration, leading to the recent outbreak of protests.

Authorities have responded by restricting access to mobile internet services and shutting down a private television channel in an attempt to prevent the organization of the protests. However, critics fear that these measures may only exacerbate the situation, potentially leading to further political turmoil and destabilizing the region.

Under President Sall’s leadership, public satisfaction with democracy in Senegal has significantly declined. The once-promising pro-democracy sentiment is being overshadowed by allegations of judicial corruption, which have prompted a parliamentary inquiry to address the concerns.

The delay in elections has also raised concerns about the exclusion of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who has been banned from participating. This exclusion is likely to fuel ongoing tensions and potential unrest among his supporters.

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Internationally, calls for the elections to proceed as soon as possible have been made by several countries, including France, the US, and the European Union. However, Senegal’s international image may minimize external pressure from regional blocs like Ecowas and the African Union to reverse the postponement.

As Senegal finds itself embroiled in this political turmoil, the country must navigate through a critical period that will shape its democratic future. The people of Senegal remain determined to safeguard their electoral integrity and ensure that their voices are heard.

Phil Schwartz

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