The Constitutional Council released the final list of candidates for the February 25 presidential election on Saturday evening. Twenty candidates will be in the fray. Karim Wade's candidature, which was initially verified, was ultimately rejected due to his dual citizenship. Ousmane Sonko has been categorically excluded from the race. On the other hand, many of his lieutenants from the former BASTEF party will be candidates.
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With our correspondents in Dakar, Juliet Dubois And Leah-Lisa Westerhoff
The list came down just before 10pm on Saturday. 20 of them will compete in the presidential election on February 25. This number has risen sharply compared to 2019 when only 5 of them passed the scrutiny of the Constituent Assembly.
It was first a blow to PDS's Karim Wade who finally saw his candidature voided. To become president in Senegal you only need to have Senegalese nationality. However, Karim Wade lost his French citizenship on January 16 following a decree published in the French official gazette, according to the Constitutional Council. Thus, the affidavit he gave in his December filing that he no longer holds dual citizenship was “false” to the seven jurors who initially validated his candidacy last week.
It was an appeal filed by another candidate, Tierno Alazane Sal, that sowed suspicion and pushed the Constitutional Council to request supporting documents. This is a huge disappointment and a fresh setback for his K24 alliance. In 2019, his candidature was already invalidated for allegedly embezzling public funds. Karim Wade, who was exiled in Qatar after Macky Sall's presidential pardon in 2016, has not returned to Senegal, but his relatives have announced an imminent return, which now appears to be a compromise. And if the former minister's nomination is rejected, BDS plan B. So the party has to decide on a new strategy in the coming days.
Usman Sonko's appeal was dismissed
An appeal by jailed opponent Usman Sonko, who was excluded from the provisional list, was also rejected. The Constitutional Council categorically rejected Usman Sonko's inclusion in the list of candidates based on his 6-month prison sentence for defamation against Minister Mame Mbaye Niang. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on January 4. making him ineligible for a period of 5 years » we can read in the judgment passed by the Constituent Assembly.
So exit who is presented as one of the potential favorites of the presidential election. “ The Constitutional Council has set the most dangerous precedent in Senegal's political history », responded El Malik Ndiaye, spokesman for the dissolved BASTEF party. Now who will replace Usman Sonko's candidacy?
Bassirou Diomaye Fay, the former BASTEF party number 2, has been Usman Sonko's party's Plan B for weeks. ” Sonko is Diomae » Can we read yesterday evening on the opposition's spokesperson's Facebook page? The Constituent Assembly upheld his candidacy, holding that his imprisonment for a case not yet tried did not prevent him from exercising his political rights.
Ousmane Sonko, Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, the former campaign director of the opposition in 2019, or Habib Sy, the former chairman of the Conference of Leaders of the Opposition, have two other possibilities. Formerly BASTEF.
Of note, other candidates vetted include Prime Minister Amadou Ba, former heads of government Idrissa Cek and Mohamed Boun Abda Dion, and former mayor of Tucker Khalifa Sal.