Monday, May 27, 2024

Senegal: Opposition Leader Sonko Says He Must Be Allowed to Run in First Interview in Over a Month

Ousmane Sonko has promised to run in the coming presidential election in Senegal and warned President Macky Sall against trying to stop him.

This is his first interview since his arrest in late June.

Speaking on France 24, he said that the president had made the decision not to run, “not because he is a democrat”, but because of “popular and international pressure”.

He added that this is no reason to congratulate him.

Sall is coming to the end of his second mandate.

On Monday, he recently announced in a nationwide address that he would not seek a controversial third term in next year’s election.

The constitution stipulates that a president cannot serve more than two successive terms.

‘Inclusive elections’

Sonko called for free, transparent and inclusive elections, hoping that Sall would end his term well “and that he and his family will be able to leave in peace”.

He also warned of “indescribable chaos” if he is unable to contest February’s election.

Sonko is the mayor of the city of Ziguinchor in the southern region of Casamance and is considered Sall’s fiercest opponent.

He was arrested on 28 May by security forces and put under house arrest in his home in the capital Dakar.

Uncertain political future

In the trial that followed, he was sentenced to two years in prison for “corrupting the youth”, in a case brought by a young woman who accused him of rape.

The conviction is like to render him ineligible to run, but he and his party claim that the trial was a political trick plotted by the presidential camp.

The ruling led to the most serious unrest Senegal has seen in years, leaving at least 16 people dead, according to authorities.


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