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Senegal: Postponement of presidential election flouts constitution – Yiaga Africa 

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An international observer and Civil Society Organization, CSO, Yiaga Africa, yesterday, expressed deep concern over the postponement of Senegal’s presidential election which was earlier scheduled to hold on February 25, 2024 by President Macky Sall, and said it flouts that the country’s Constitution.

Yiaga Africa’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, pointed this out in a statement signed by himself and made available to Vanguard.

According to Itodo, the postponement of the election will bring about setbacks in the progress that country has achieved over decades, whereby has made it earn a high reputation as one of the most vibrant democracies in Africa.

He also pointed out that the decision by the Senegalese National Assembly to pass a law postponing the presidential elections allegedly violates Article 92 of the Constitution of Senegal, because that country’s constitution empowers the Constitutional Council to take the decision.

Meanwhile, he maintained that the postponement of the elections infringes on and violates the fundamental rights of the citizens of Senegal and the Constitution respectively.

“It also negates the ECOWAS Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance, which mandates in Article 2 that no substantial electoral law reform should occur within six (6) months prior to the elections without the consent of a broad majority of political actors and those elections be organised on dates and periods fixed by the Constitution or Election laws.

“Additionally, it negates the constitutional principles of free, fair and transparent election in the ECOWAS Protocol as such a decision undermines the integrity of the process especially when the decision was not a product of consensus.

“This postponement flouts the Constitution of Senegal and risks setting back the progress that has been achieved over decades which has established the country as one of the most vibrant democracies on the African continent and a beacon of hope for the West Africa sub-region”, he said.

Yiaga Africa also called on the President to reconsider and rescind his decision and action in regards to the Constitution and the people’s fundamental human rights.

“We urge President Sall to reverse his decision and ensure that elections are held before the end of his constitutionally mandated term of office.

“We also call on the Senegalese government to ensure that freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression, including for members of the press, are fully respected.

“Yiaga Africa also stands in solidarity with the citizens of Senegal as they continue to engage with the government on behalf of the Senegalese people to ensure that the constitution is adhered to safeguard the country’s democracy.

“It is therefore imperative that their rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and association are also fully respected”, he said.

However, Yiaga Africa condemned alleged attacks on citizens by security forces while expressing their displeasure and disapproval over the postponement of the elections.

“We also condemn recent events that have seen citizens attacked by security forces as they express their disapproval of the postponement of the elections.

“All stakeholders must ensure that these recent events do not put the country on a dangerous path to dictatorship and/or political instability and that our democracy in the West African region does not suffer yet another backsliding.

“We call on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to work together and uphold democratic principles in Senegal and ensure that the electoral process is conducted in a transparent and accountable manner.

“This will restore Senegal to its path as a beacon of hope in our journey to stable and developed democracies in West Africa and the African continent”, he added

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