Senegal’s ‘tainted’ democracy: US, EU denounce presidential vote delay as not ‘legitimate’

The Senegalese Parliament’s recent decision to delay presidential elections until December “cannot be considered legitimate”, US State Department has said, while the EU has urged the West African country to reverse this step that “taints the long tradition of democracy.”

Senegal was plunged into its worst political crisis in decades after President Macky Sall on Saturday February 3 announced that the presidential elections originally scheduled for 25 February would be postponed until December. Lawmakers voted almost unanimously in favor of the delay two days later, but only after security forces stormed the chamber and removed some opposition deputies, who were unable to cast their votes.

“The United States is deeply concerned by actions taken to delay Senegal’s 25 February presidential election,” the US State Department said in a statement, urging the country to move forward with the election “in accordance with the Constitution”.

Echoing earlier criticism from Washington, Brussels stressed on Wednesday February 7 that “this postponement taints the long tradition of democracy in Senegal and opens up a period of great uncertainty.” It added that the mandate of the EU’s electoral observation mission to the West African country “should be reviewed” if the authorities will go ahead with the new schedule.

The vote delay plunged the normally stable nation into crisis that was further aggravated when authorities on Monday February 5 cut access to mobile internet in the capital Dakar. It was a repeat of a move in June 2023, when the government restricted mobile data amid high tensions in the country, in a bid to curb mobilization and communication via social networks.

 

About Geraldine Boechat 2734 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia