Senegal’s president calls for amnesty that could pave the way for challengers in 2024

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DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegalese President Macky Sall has asked the Justice Ministry to consider an amnesty program that could allow two of his biggest political opponents convicted of corruption to regain their right to vote and possibly run in the next presidential election in 2024.

Sall instructed the justice minister at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening “to consider, as soon as possible, the possibilities and the appropriate scheme of amnesty for people who have lost their right to vote,” the minister said. minutes of the meeting.

He said his aim was to ease political tensions that have heated up in recent months, culminating in tense legislative elections and scuffles in parliament, but analysts said the move could be a ploy to divide the EU. opposition before the 2024 election.

Two of Senegal’s best-known opposition figures, former Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall, and Karim Wade, the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, were jailed for corruption in 2018 and 2015 respectively.

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Both were released but were barred from running in the 2019 election, which Sall won, and many have claimed the charges against them were politically motivated.

Since then, another incendiary opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, has risen to prominence and mobilized large protests against the ruling party, which lost its absolute majority in parliament to an opposition coalition. ally last month.

President Macky Sall must break this unity which is dangerous for him. Three competing (parties) would be easier to face than a single bloc,” said political analyst Mame Less Camara.

“With the possibility of the return of Karim and Khalifa, the hegemony of Sonko and Pastef (Sonko’s party) will necessarily be challenged,” said Mamadou Sy Albert, another political analyst.

Sall avoided saying whether he planned to run in the 2024 election, part of what fueled protests last year. He has already served two terms, the constitutional limit, but other West African presidents have changed their constitutions in order to run for a third time.

(Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Bate Felix and Chizu Nomiyama)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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