Senegal: the opposition demands the suspension of the publication of the results of the legislative elections

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The Senegalese opposition has called for the publication of the results of Sunday’s legislative elections to be suspended to examine its complaints about alleged “irregularities” and “fraud”.

Both government and opposition camps are claiming victory after Sunday’s vote to renew the 165-seat National Assembly, largely controlled by the presidential coalition.

“We ask the president of the National Commission for the Census of Votes to suspend the publication of the results scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. to allow the inter-coalition of the opposition to review the results poll by poll, we can even do it in public session so that the Senegalese people can see with us the irregularities which are unacceptable,” declared Déthié Fall, a member of the opposition during a press conference.

“We will not accept this attempt to confiscate the vote. I appeal to President Macky Sall because at some point a man must know how to be great.” said another opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, during the briefing.

The opposition had hoped that the elections would force cohabitation, or a divided government, on Sall and curb any ambitions he might have for a third term.

The elections, the last before the 2024 presidential elections, were a major test for Sall after local elections in January saw the opposition prevail in major cities, including the capital Dakar, Ziguinchor in the south and Thiès. in the West.

Touré claimed on Sunday evening to have won 30 of the country’s 46 departments and overseas constituencies.

“It definitely gives us a majority in the National Assembly,” she said, while acknowledging that her coalition had been defeated in Dakar.

– Collaboration with the opposition –

The main opposition coalition, however, expressed “astonishment” at Toure’s remarks, saying it had obtained a “comfortable majority” and that the presidential camp was “seeking to confiscate the vote again”.

“We call on national and international opinion to testify against any attempt to manipulate the results,” the opposition said in a statement on Monday.

Ahead of the election, Yewwi Askan Wi (“Free the people” in Wolof, one of Senegal’s national languages), the main opposition coalition led by Ousmane Sonko, who came third in the 2019 presidential election, is associated with Wallu Senegal (“Save Senegal”), led by former President Abdoulaye Wade.

The two groups agreed to work together to obtain a parliamentary majority and “force governmental cohabitation”.

“The provisional results of the legislative elections show that the President of the Republic Macky Sall lost the elections… and that he will not have a majority in the National Assembly,” Wallu Senegal said on Monday.

The coalition also said prominent politicians, including former Prime Minister Touré, had been beaten.

– Tight race –

Provisional overall results are expected no later than Friday, but early indications suggest the poll was tight and the main opposition coalition had gained ground, particularly in urban areas, according to local media.

The single ballot will determine the 165 seats in the single-chamber parliament, currently controlled by the president’s supporters, for the next five years.

Sall has promised to appoint a prime minister – a post he abolished and then reinstated in December 2021 – from the winning side.

Some seven million Senegalese were eligible to vote in the election, which passed off without major incident.

Turnout at several polling stations appeared relatively low, according to AFP correspondents and observers, and the Interior Ministry said turnout was 47%.

Yahya Sall, a retired soldier, said he hoped the new parliament “will have a strong opposition presence…to push democracy forward”.

Legislators are elected under a system that combines proportional representation, with national lists for 53 legislators and majority voting in the country’s departments for 97 others.

The diaspora elects the remaining 15 deputies.

The vote took place against a backdrop of rising prices, partly due to the war in Ukraine.

The opposition questioned the priorities of the government, which highlighted its subsidies for oil and food products as well as the construction of infrastructure.

Sall, 60, was elected in 2012 for seven years and then re-elected in 2019 for five more. He has been accused of wanting to break the two-term limit and run again in 2024.

He has been vague on the matter, but any defeat by his supporters in Sunday’s vote could upend such plans.

The 21-day election campaign unfolded in a mostly calm atmosphere.

The pre-campaign period, however, was marked by violent protests that left at least three people dead after several members of the main opposition coalition, including Sonko, were banned from taking part.

On June 29, the opposition eased tensions by agreeing to participate in the elections, which it had threatened to boycott.

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