Smart Take | Protests Continue after Senegal’s Macky Sall Postpones Presidential Election
Protests erupted in Dakar this week after Senegal’s Parliament voted to postpone the country’s presidential elections until December. Since the vote, protestors have clashed with security forces, authorities have restricted internet access, and several law makers have been arrested, including the former Prime Minister Aminata Touré. Oge Onubogu, Director of the Africa Program, helps us to make sense of the democratic crises in Senegal. She covers the impact of the election’s postponement, the unrest leading up to the previously scheduled vote, and the importance of ensuring citizen freedoms moving forward.
Protests Continue after Senegal’s Macky Sall Postpones Presidential Election
This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
There needs to be a clear decision to ensure that elections are held and held as soon as possible. Fortunately, the new dates for these elections have been set for December, but I think there has already been a precedent that has been set with the postponement of the elections. It will call into question the viability of the process. It already calls into question the viability of the electoral process.
Senegalese citizens leading up to this vote, we had seen a lot of protests. We had seen a lot of yearning for change to do things differently. So I think for them, it is important that we do not lose sight of the people at this critical time. Because even while the new dates for the elections have been announced this for December of this year, ensuring that citizens freedoms are protected within this time will be key. Ensuring that security agencies are not manipulated or used to victimize citizens will also be key.
Senegal has often been considered or is considered as a stable country in the West African region. This is a country where we've never seen a military coup in Senegal since independence. The country that has also always been able to have a peaceful transition from one government to the other. So this postponement actually sort of puts a dent in the democratic credentials of Senegal.
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