Senegal's President Seeks a 3rd Term

Protesters have clashed with police, demanding that the 85-year-old withdraw his candidacy. 

Posted:
 
senegal21412400jdh
Sengalese President Abdoulaye Wade (Gabriela Barnuevo/Associated Press)

Critics say Sengalese President Abdoulaye Wade is violating the country's constitution and should step down. But the 85-year-old is determined to seek a new term. When Senegal's top court recently decided to allow him to run, his opponents took to the streets to demonstrate their disapproval, NPR reports:

Senegal was tense as police clashed with protesters demanding that the president withdraw his candidacy.

Opposition presidential candidate Moustapha Niasse, Wade's onetime prime minister, used strong language to describe Senegal's octogenarian leader during a recent protest march.

"Let me tell you that Abdoulaye Wade is a political delinquent," Niasse said. "His electoral campaign is illegal. We are the ones who are campaigning legally."

Senegal's opposition maintains the president's re-election bid violates both the spirit and the letter of the constitution, which Wade himself had amended to introduce a two-term limit.

The presidential camp, backed by the Constitutional Council, argues that the change came into force after Wade took office 12 years ago, so the term limit does not apply.

The Constitutional Council also threw out the candidacy of Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, who announced his presidential bid last month. The court said he did not have the required number of signatures.

Although the opposition is presenting a united front against Wade, it has failed to back a single candidate, with about a dozen contenders challenging the president.

Lewis Lukens, the U.S. ambassador to Senegal, is quoted by the Senegalese media as calling Wade's candidacy "unfortunate" in an interview, published on Seneweb.com. Lukens said it was regrettable that "President Wade has chosen to compromise the elections and threaten the security of his country by his insistence on running for a third term."

Read more at NPR.