Senegalese President Macky Sall postponed the presidential elections due later this month in a decree announced on Saturday, citing controversies over the disqualification of some candidates and allegations of corruption in election-related cases.
Sall said he signed a decree repealing the law that convened the electoral body just as campaigning was set to begin for Feb. 25 election, in one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.
“For my part, my solemn commitment not to run in the presidential election remains unchanged, finally, I will engage in an open national dialogue to bring together the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election,” the Senegalese leader said, without announcing a new date for the vote.
The decision comes just hours before the start of the election campaign and follows the establishment of a parliamentary commission investigating the integrity of two judges from the Constitutional Council.
President Sall revealed that he had revoked his earlier decree, which set the election for February 25, after concerns were raised about the integrity of the electoral process. This unprecedented move in Senegal marks the first direct universal suffrage presidential election delay since 1963.
In his address, President Sall expressed his commitment to initiating an open national dialogue to ensure conditions for a free, transparent, and inclusive election, although he did not specify a new date.
Initially elected in 2012 for a seven-year term and re-elected in 2019 for five years, President Sall had earlier declared that he would not seek another term, designating Prime Minister Amadou Ba as his successor.
The Constitutional Council had excluded several candidates from the election, including opposition figures Ousmane Sonko and Karim Wade, sparking controversy.
The political landscape in Senegal is now in flux, with the postponement raising questions about the country’s electoral process and the challenges faced by the opposition candidates who were disqualified.