Wade re­turns for elec­tions in Sene­gal

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

DAKAR: For­mer Sene­galese pres­i­dent Ab­doulaye Wade has re­turned to the cap­i­tal to lead his party for the forth­com­ing elec­tions af­ter spend­ing years abroad af­ter a failed at­tempt at se­cur­ing a third term in of­fice.

The 91-year-old flew into Dakar on Mon­day from Paris, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Vi­viane.

He re­tains a strong sup­port base in Sene­gal, which is hold­ing leg­isla­tive elec­tions on July 30, the Voice of Amer­ica re­ported.

Wade will head the list of can­di­dates for his op­po­si­tion Sene­galese Demo­cratic Party and will also lead other op­po­si­tion par­ties in a coali­tion.

His ar­rival in Dakar was greeted by his sup­port­ers who cheered him amid tight se­cu­rity.

The for­mer pres­i­dent was last in Sene­gal in April 2014 when his son Karim faced cor­rup­tion charges, and the il­le­gal ac­cu­mu­la­tion of a vast sum of money.

Karim was sen­tenced to six years in prison – only half of which he served.

A re­cep­tion rally to greet Wade on his pre­vi­ous ar­rival in Dakar was can­celled for se­cu­rity rea­sons.

Wade’s sup­port­ers al­leged the charges against his son were po­lit­i­cally trumped up and part of a per­sonal vendetta – an al­le­ga­tion echoed by his fam­ily.

Wade was elected pres­i­dent in 2000 and was hailed as one of the few African democrats. How­ever, his rep­u­ta­tion as a demo­crat crum­bled in the months lead­ing to the 2012 elec­tions af­ter he was ac­cused of so­lid­i­fy­ing his son’s rise to power.

Dur­ing the elec­tions Sene­gal was hit by protests which paral­ysed the cap­i­tal with pro­test­ers warn­ing Wade not to seek a third term. He lost to the cur­rent Pres­i­dent Macky Sall in the 2012 runoff, and with­drew abroad.

Sall’s pres­i­den­tial run has seen highs and lows punc­tu­ated by com­plaints that he has not done enough to im­prove the lives of or­di­nary Se­na­galese.

The July 30 elec­tions will see Sene­gal elect 150 deputies to Par­lia­ment. Should Wade’s party se­cure more than 75 seats it will win a ma­jor­ity. – ANA

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