Senegal’s President Macky Sall delays elections: What’s the reasoning behind the decision? | Latest Election Updates

Last week, Senegal’s President Macky Sall unilaterally postponed presidential elections by several months just weeks before the planned date of February 25, sparking protests across a country already on edge from months of political tension. On Monday, the National Assembly descended into chaos as opposition members who tried to block a bill cementing the delay were arrested and policemen fired tear gas at protesters gathered outside.

Sall, who will end a two-term tenure on April 2, and who has stated that he would not run for a third term, said the postponement was necessary because of a dispute over the list of approved candidates for the elections. This is the first time polls have been postponed in the country. There is speculation that he has delayed the elections because he is not confident about the popularity of Prime Minister Amadou Ba, the candidate for Sall’s Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition, who has been approved by the Constitutional Council. Ba’s office has not commented on the crisis.

Many Senegalese are unhappy with the postponement and believe Sall, who has been in office since 2012 and is no longer eligible to run himself, is trying to hold onto power for longer. Opposition parties have launched a legal challenge to reverse the delay.

Scores gathered to protest in the capital Dakar after Sall announced the shift, but they were forcefully dispersed by the police.

Here’s why voters in Senegal are sceptical, and what the delay means for the country.

Why was the vote postponed? On February 3, after rumours appeared on Senegalese social media about a possible postponement, Sall announced in a televised speech that elections slated for February 25 would indeed be postponed.

The official campaign season was scheduled to kick off the next day – set to last from February 4 until the elections on February 25.

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