Sene­gal kicks off frac­tious leg­isla­tive cam­paign

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sene­gal kicked off cam­paign­ing yes­ter­day for par­lia­men­tary elec­tions later this month, with a record num­ber of can­di­dates vy­ing to weaken Pres­i­dent Macky Sall-in­clud­ing 91-year-old ex-leader Ab­doulaye Wade. Wade, pres­i­dent from 2000 to 2012, has been liv­ing in France for the past sev­eral months, but was ex­pected to re­turn to Dakar on Mon­day to lead the cam­paign for his Sene­galese Demo­cratic Party (PDS). “I will cam­paign, but not the same way as when I was young,” he told a lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tion Fri­day.

A par­lia­men­tary victory for the op­po­si­tion would give Wade the means to ob­tain an amnesty for his son, Karim, who en­joyed con­sid­er­able min­is­te­rial pow­ers un­der his fa­ther, but was sen­tenced to six years in prison in 2015. Karim Wade was also or­dered to pay a fine of more than 210 million euros for “il­licit en­rich­ment”. He re­ceived a pres­i­den­tial par­don in June 2016 and now lives abroad, and an amnesty would lift any doubts over his el­i­gi­bil­ity in pol­i­tics, ob­servers said. An­other list of can­di­dates will be fielded by the mayor of Dakar, Khal­ifa Sall, who has been jailed since March on sus­pi­cion of em­bez­zling about $2.9 million in city funds, charges which he has de­nied. Sall’s lawyers have asked a court to grant him con­di­tional re­lease in order to lead the cam­paign, ahead of his ex­pected run against the pres­i­dent-with whom he is not re­lated-in 2019.

An ef­fort to present a united op­po­si­tion front fell apart in May over dif­fer­ences be­tween sup­port­ers of Wade and those of Sall on who should head the shared list of can­di­dates. That led to a record 47 lists be­ing pre­sented to vot­ers, up from 24 in the 2012 vote, with 165 seats up for grabs on the July 30 elec­tion. The op­po­si­tion par­ties hope to se­cure a ma­jor­ity that would force Pres­i­dent Sall into a “co­hab­i­ta­tion” gov­ern­ment, which would ham­string his abil­ity to push his agenda through par­lia­ment.

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