The opposition blames Sall’s decision not to seek a controversial third term in Senegal to popular pressure

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The Senegalese opposition has affirmed this Tuesday that the decision of the president, Macky Sall, not to run for a controversial third term in the 2024 elections stems from popular pressure in recent months, marked by protests against this possibility and condemnations issued against prominent opposition figure Ousmane Sonko.

Abbas Fall, coordinator of Sonko’s Senegalese Patriots Africans for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF) party, stressed that “what would have been surprising is if Sall had declared his candidacy for 2024.”

“We all know what he wanted, but unfortunately for him the pressure has been such that he has had no choice but to respect the Constitution, which he has cited many times and which he voted for in 2016,” he said, according to the British television channel BBC. .

Likewise, the former prime minister and current opposition member Aminata Touré has stressed that “Sall is not doing Senegal a favor, but rather that he has had to back down in the face of popular outcry.” “I think it could have saved us these difficult moments for the country and especially the death of 16 protesters,” she has criticized.

“We will remain vigilant, because we want inclusive (…), free and transparent elections to be organized,” said Touré, who has been very critical in recent months of the Senegalese president’s policies, as reported by Radio France Internationale. .

Along these lines, the coordinator of the platform of civil organizations F24, Mamadou Mbodj, has been “relieved” by Sall’s decision, although he has charged against the president’s position of reiterating that the Constitution would have allowed him to run for a third mandate.

“As a democrat and a statesman, he should have had the vision to say that he is in line with the clauses of the Constitution,” he said, before criticizing that “he has talked a lot about violence in his speech, but he points to other pointing finger at ‘hidden forces’ (…), despite the fact that the violence is institutional”.

Sall said in a speech on Monday that he ruled out running for office in 2024, saying the decision was “carefully” considered. “I know that this decision will surprise all those whose sincere admiration, trust and loyalty I know. It will also surprise those who wish to see me continue to guide the construction of the country that is becoming more and more oriented. But Senegal is beyond me and is full of leaders who they are also capable of pushing the country through the emergency,” he said.

The Senegalese president has criticized the “speculation and comments” about his candidacy, rejecting an alleged “presidential ambition”, since he “never” wanted to “be hostage to this mandate.” “I would like to say that I have a clear conscience,” he added, recalling that he has commented on numerous occasions that this is his second and last term.

After the announcement, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has expressed his “deep appreciation” for Sall and for the “art of government that he has shown”. Likewise, the president of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has welcomed the “wise and healthy decision” of the president of Senegal.

The Senegalese opposition has accused the president of orchestrating a harsh repression against dissidents and supporters of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko whose lawyer, Juan Branco, accused Sall himself and his Interior Minister, Antoine Félix Diome, of launching a ” widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”.

Tension in the country peaked earlier this month, with more than 15 people killed after Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison in a “youth corruption” case after being accused of rape and death threats. , charges ultimately dismissed.

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Written by Editor TLN

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