Tuesday, June 6

Senegal: Ex-Prime Minister Idrissa Seck announces 2024 presidential bid

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The candidacy of Mr. Seck, 63, was expected. Head of government between 2002 and 2004 under ex-president Abdoulaye Wade, he was second in the presidential election of 2019 and also an unsuccessful candidate in both presidential elections of 2007 and 2012.

Opposing President Sall, Mr. seck then joined the presidential camp in November 2020 and was immediately appointed by the Head of State to head the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese), an advisory institution.

“Can anyone imagine a presidential election in Senegal without Idrissa Seck?”, he declared Friday during a press conference in the city of Thiès (west), his stronghold.

“The answer is yes,” he said, after being asked about his candidacy in 2024.

He did not give a personal opinion on the legality of a possible candidacy of President Sall in 2024, but claims to have consulted a renowned constitutional law professor Serigne Diop in Senegal who told him that the current head of state is not eligible to stand for 2024 presidential elections.

President Macky Sall, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019, remains silent on his intentions regarding the February 2024 presidential election, for which around 20 candidates have already declared themselves.

Senegal, renowned as a rare island of stability in a troubled region, has been under tension for months due to the tense confrontation between the presidential majority and the camp of opponent Ousmane Sonko.

Sonko is due on appeal on Monday for defamation against Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang, a presidential party official. The latter reproached him for having declared that he had been singled out by a report from a control institution for his management of a fund for the employment of young people.
Sonko was sentenced on March 30 to a two-month suspended prison sentence and must pay 200 million CFA francs (D20.4 million Dalasis) in damages to the minister. The opponent, however, retains his eligibility for the 2024 presidential election, according to his lawyers.

The prosecution and the civil party will appeal against the judgment today Monday 17 April.

Mr. Sonko and his supporters accused the government of using justice to prevent him from running for president in 2024. The presidential party, for its part, accuses Mr. Sonko of wanting to paralyze the country and using the streets to escape justice.