The decision made by the Senegalese Parliament on Monday evening is expected to further escalate the existing tensions in the country. The parliament, amidst significant chaos, adopted a bill that seeks to postpone the presidential election. Initially, the election was set to take place on February 25, but the newly adopted bill pushes the date to December 15, 2024.
The President of the National Assembly announced the adoption of the law. However, this was only achieved after several opposition deputies, who were obstructing the vote, were forcibly removed by the gendarmerie.
The decision to postpone the election, made by Senegalese President Macky Sall on Saturday, has plunged the country into a severe political crisis. The opposition leader and former Prime Minister Aminata Touré expressed deep sorrow and outrage, calling it a “day of great sadness and indignation for Senegalese democracy”.
President Macky Sall defended his decision by citing a crisis between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Council. However, his critics believe that he is merely attempting to prolong his stay in power.
The decision to postpone the presidential election is unprecedented in Senegal, a nation often hailed as a bastion of stability in a region frequently disrupted by military coups. The decision has drawn international concern, with Washington and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expressing their worries. Paris also chimed in, urging the authorities to clarify the electoral calendar so that the elections could proceed as soon as possible.