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In Senegal, launch of a coalition around the main opponent Ousmane Sonko – archyde

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Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko in Dakar on March 8, 2021.

Several formations and movements of the opposition to Senegal launched Thursday, September 2 in Dakar a coalition led by the main opponent Ousmane Sonko, some five months before local elections.

The coalition, called “Yewwi askan wi” (“Free the people” in Wolof), aims according to its initiators to conquer the municipal and departmental councils, almost entirely controlled by the presidential coalition since the elections of March 2014.

Read also Senegal: “Democracy is threatened by the authoritarian practices of President Macky Sall”

Local elections, initially scheduled for 2019, must be held at the end of January 2022. They must be followed by legislative elections, during the same year 2022. The presidential coalition also controls Parliament with a majority of deputies.

The new coalition, made up of around twenty parties and movements, will “Present a common list in each municipality and department and continue this collaboration until the presidential election of 2024”, said one of its officials, Ngoné Salih Diop, when it was set up on Thursday. It brings together, in addition to Ousmane Sonko, several officials including the former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, and an influential religious leader.

Warm-up before the 2024 presidential election

Mr. Sonko, member of the National Assembly, remains targeted by accusations of rape of an employee of a beauty salon in Dakar where he was going to be massaged to, according to him, relieve a back pain.

He refutes these accusations, which he attributes to a plot hatched by President Macky Sall to remove him from the political scene. His arrest in early March triggered rare violence in Senegal which left several dead. It has since been under judicial supervision.

The locals of 2022 are also for Mr. Sonko, third in the presidential election of 2019, a warm-up lap before the presidential election of 2024 of which he is one of the main competitors. President Macky Sall, elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2019, maintains the vagueness of his intentions in 2024.

Read also In Senegal, the Ousmane Sonko affair crystallizes the frustrations of the population

Khalifa Sall – with whom he is not related – who was elected mayor of Dakar in 2009 and re-elected in 2014, had been dismissed from office by President Macky Sall after his conviction in August 2018 to five years of ‘imprisonment for “Forgery in trade writing and fraud involving public funds”. His candidacy for the 2019 presidential election was rejected by the courts, because of his judicial conviction.

The new coalition was initially supposed to bring together a larger number of opposition groups including the PDS, the former ruling party (2000-2012), still led by ex-President Abdoulaye Wade. The PDS finally gave up being a member because of “Points of disagreement [qui] have not been resolved “, he said in a statement, without further details.

The World with AFP

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