Africa Elections News Opposition Politics Senegal

Senegal MPS Clear the Way for Opposition Figures to Fight Election

Deputies in Senegal’s parliament have passed a vote which will effectively restores the right of two key opposition figures to run in the country’s presidential election, due in February 

The vote clears any person who has been convicted but then either pardons or amnesties them to run for office.

The decision allows opposition heavyweights Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade to stand.

In parliament Interior Minister Antoine Félix Abdoulaye Diome, explained: “The bill does not only concern the modification of article L28-3, which allows the convicted person to regain his or her rights by being reintroduced onto the electoral roll once the remaining period of the sentence for which a pardon was granted has expired. Beyond this, there were other advances resulting from the national dialogue.”

Sall, a former mayor of Dakar and Wade, son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, have been considered for the presidential vote, due next year. 

Neither could run in the 2019 presidential election because of separate convictions on financial issues. But they may now be able to stand in next February’s poll.

Member of the presidential majority, Yeya Diallo, praised the president’s efforts in bringing about the bill.  

“This bill aims to revise the electoral code. 

“As we have all seen, President Macky Sall initiated a national dialogue, which resulted in a decision to revise the Constitution and the electoral code.”

2019 victor, Macky Sall, is completing his second term in office and is ineligible to run again.  

The proposal was passed by 124 votes to one

Member of Khalifa Sall’s party, MP and member of Taxawou Sénégal,  Babacar Abba Mbaye said it was an important step forward. 

“And today, what we’re witnessing, the imprisonment of Sonko and others, is nothing other than a democracy that has lost its bearings.

“So, what’s happening today is the beginning of a correction, and we hope it will continue. But today, we can’t help but be proud for all the Taxawou militants who have remained loyal to Khalifa.”

Many observers hope Saturday’s parliamentary vote will help ease the tension being experienced in the country in recent months, as opposition figures have frequently complained of moves against them ahead of the presidential vote next year.