Senegal to Probe Constitutional Council’s Handling of Presidential Polls

Lawmakers in Senegal have opened an inquiry into why presidential candidate Karim Wade, son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, was excluded from running in this month’s elections. The probe will also look at accusations of corruption against certain Constitutional Council judges.

The creation of an investigative committee into the candidate selection process was comfortably adopted, rousing cries of joy from parliament, RFI’s correspondent in Dakar reported.

A prominent opponent, Wade served as a minister when his father was president. He was ruled inadmissible by the Constitutional Council because of his dual French and Senegalese nationality.

Wade said he renounced the French citizenship in October 2023.

The head of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) group in parliament, Mamadou Lamine Thiam, said the investigation was paramount.

“Karim Wade was unfairly excluded from the electoral competition,” he told RFI.

“There are 900,000 voters unknown to the electoral file, nine candidates excluded from the game … So we cannot go to elections in these conditions. We need to stop and look at things.”

Wade’s supporters are hoping for a postponement of the vote to allow their candidate to return to the race.

But the other parties disagree.

The representative of the Yewwi Askan Wi opposition coalition, Ayib Dafe, voted against the commission of inquiry. He says that the demand for postponement is not in the voters’ interests.

In the presidential camp, MPs want to avoid an institutional crisis.

“We are in a state of law, Senegal is a major democracy. The institutions are functioning normally. We have not talking about postponement, we are talking about the search for peace to enlighten public opinion,” said Abdou MBow, president of the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar group.

The first round of the presidential election is set for 25 February, with an unprecedented 20 candidates in the running.

It includes an imprisoned anti-establishment contender, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who is running in the name of popular mayor of Ziguinchor, Ousmane Sonko, also in prison, under the banner of his Pastef party.

The European Union mission on Wednesday sent observers to Senegal. They are aiming to meet with all the candidates.

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