March 8, 2024

AU, EU,US hail Senegal election at end of March

AU, EU,US hail Senegal election at end of March

The African Union  on Friday welcomed Senegal’s decision to hold the presidential election on March 24 after weeks of turmoil triggered by the vote delay, following similar reaction from the United States and the European Union.

President Macky Sall plunged Senegal into one of its worst crises in decades with his last-minute postponement of the presidential poll, originally scheduled for February 25.

After a month of uncertainty which sparked outcry at home and abroad, the country’s top constitutional body on Thursday agreed with the presidency for the vote to take place on March 24, before the end of Sall’s mandate.

The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, saluted “the peaceful resolution of the institutional crisis in Senegal”.

He added that the decision to hold the election before Sall leaves office on April 2 “reflects the deep-rootedness and resilience of democracy in Senegal, of which Africa has always been proud”.

The statement also said the African Union would deploy an observation mission.

The decision demonstrated the “great resilience” of democracy and the rule of law in Senegal, European Commission spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said on Thursday.

The EU called for a “peaceful electoral campaign and… the holding of credible and transparent elections”.

The United States reacted on a message on X, formerly Twitter, posted by the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs on Thursday.

“We stand with the Senegalese people and their unwavering support for democracy and free and fair elections,” the post said.

The traditionally stable West African nation is embarking on what is perhaps its most open presidential vote in modern history, with 19 candidates in the running for the first round.

The date of the second round has not been announced.

The campaign begins on Saturday and ends on Friday March 22, running through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

It will also be shorter than the 21 days prescribed by Senegal’s electoral code.