• Saturday, April 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Senegal’s parliament bows to pressure, delays vote until December 15 amidst unrest

Senegal’s parliament, under intense pressure and public outcry, voted on Monday to postpone the presidential election to December 15th.

This marks a significant political development in the West African nation, raising concerns about democratic stability and potentially tarnishing its longstanding reputation.

President Macky Sall’s controversial decision to delay the originally scheduled February 25th vote sparked widespread anger and accusations of authoritarian overreach.

Riot police dispersed protests with tear gas, while opposition lawmakers attempted to block proceedings in parliament until security forces intervened.

The revised December date, a last-minute amendment to the initial August postponement proposal, is likely to further inflame tensions.

It follows multiple legal challenges from presidential candidates and regional concerns about a prolonged delay.

Opposition groups and civil society have fiercely condemned the move, with some labeling it an “institutional coup” aimed at extending Sall’s hold on power. The delay also triggered panic in financial markets, leading to a sharp fall in Senegal’s sovereign dollar bonds.

International actors, including the African Union and the United States, have called for a swift resolution and urged the setting of a new election date.

Rating agency Moody’s warned that prolonged delays could hinder economic reforms and fiscal consolidation efforts.

While the ruling party and a segment of the opposition supported the postponement, significant challenges remain.

The December date, amidst accusations of manipulation and potential unrest, casts a shadow over Senegal’s democratic image and raises questions about the legitimacy of the upcoming election.