Voting was originally scheduled to take place on February 25, but was postponed due to a dispute over the list of candidates.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall has indefinitely postponed the presidential election scheduled for February 25th.
In a televised address to the nation on Saturday, the president announced that he had rescinded the relevant election law, citing disputes over the list of candidates.
Sall said he signed a decree repealing the measure, which set the original election date from November 2023.
“We will begin an open national dialogue to finalize the conditions for free, transparent and inclusive elections in a peaceful and reconciled Senegal,” he said, without giving a new date.
The announcement came as lawmakers are investigating two Constitutional Council judges whose integrity in the election process is being questioned.
Last month, election authorities removed some opposition politicians from the list of candidates.
The opposition Democratic Party of Senegal (PDS), whose candidate Karim Wade was also excluded, had earlier submitted a formal request to postpone the vote.
But another political party said suspending the election would amount to what it called an “organized coup.”
The Constitutional Council’s decision to exclude prominent candidates has heightened dissatisfaction with the electoral process, with excluded candidates claiming that the rules on candidacy were not applied fairly, but authorities This is denied.
“These difficult circumstances could sow controversy before and after elections and seriously undermine the credibility of the vote,” the president said in his speech.
“We are facing uncertainty.”
Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haq, reporting from Dakar, said Sall cited a number of reasons why the elections could not be held.
“There were doubts about the electoral process, as some of the main candidates and opposition leaders were not in the race,” he said.
Among those excluded was Wade, who is in exile in Qatar and was not allowed to take part in the race due to accusations that he had dual French and Senegalese citizenship, Haq said. Another excluded candidate, Rose Wardini, is also currently in custody on suspicion of dual citizenship. Popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and his replacement Bashir Diomai Faye are also in prison, our correspondent explained.
“The situation with the electoral process in this country, which is usually one of the most stable democracies in the region, therefore looked precarious. That is why President Macky Sall has decided to postpone the elections and call for a national dialogue. “We have taken this decision because of this,” Haq said.
Sall said he would not run for a third term, a point he reiterated in a speech Saturday. He said, “My solemn determination not to run for president remains unchanged.”
This is the first time that Senegal’s presidential election has been postponed.
“[Senegal] “This is truly unprecedented for the government, the electoral process and the Senegalese people, because up until now we have always had peaceful democratic and electoral processes where one president transfers power to the next.” he said.
“Twenty candidates were running. Senegalese people now face uncertainty as to who will lead the country and, more importantly, when elections will be held.”