ECOWAS reacts as Senegal postpones presidential poll

THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed concerns over the postponement of the presidential elections in Senegal, originally slated for February 25, 2024.

In a statement signed on Saturday, February 3, the Commission urged Senegal to hasten the process of selecting a new date for the elections.

“The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States takes note of the decision that the Senegalese authorities have taken to postpone the presidential elections scheduled to take place on 25 February 2024.

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“The ECOWAS Commission expresses concern over the circumstances that have led to the postponement of the elections and appeals to the competent authorities to expedite the various processes in order to set a new date for the elections. The Commission further urges the entire political class to prioritise dialogue and collaboration for transparent, inclusive and credible elections,” the statement read.

The ECOWAS  urged Senegalese President Macky Sall to defend Senegal’s democracy amidst its political crisis.

Sall postponed the elections indefinitely on Saturday, following heightened tension that trailed the decisions of the  country’s Constitutional Council, to prevent some political hopefuls from contesting.

The President said he would begin an open dialogue to create the right environment for a free and fair process, as the current situation could affect the credibility of the election.

“These troubled conditions could seriously undermine the credibility of the ballot by sowing the seeds of pre- and post-electoral disputes,” Sall said.

    He also added that the exclusion of some major contenders in the elections cast doubt on the process.

    The ICIR reports that some of the prominent contenders in the exercise were barred by the Council for various reasons, including a libel conviction and allegations of dual citizenship.

    Sall further suspended a November 2023 decree that he had signed, which fixed the elections for February 25.

    Members of the opposition have described Sall’s move as a constitutional coup and threatened to challenge the decision in court.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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