With the presidential election in Senegal set for February 24, and just six weeks away, the Constitutional Council in Dakar on Monday issued a provisional list of five candidates deemed qualified to participate in the scheduled poll.
Those on the list include the incumbent President Macky Sall, Ousmane Sonko (PASTEF), Idrissa Seck (Rewmi), Issa Sall (PUR) and Madicke Niang, who could be the main challengers to the ruling coalition’s (Benno Bokk Yakaar) candidate, Macky Sall.
The council said the candidates had passed the sponsorship stage, under a new law that requires them to collect the signatures of at least 0.8 percent of voters (53,000 sponsors), 1 percent maximum (65,000 sponsors) in at least seven regions out of Senegal’s fourteen regions.
However, having the required sponsorship does not guarantee the validation of one’s candidacy, according to the council.
Under Senegal’s electoral processes and laws, the council has the mandate to determine who has met the criteria set for participation, and now has up to Sunday 20 January to issue the final list of candidates.
Meanwhile, Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, two politicians who sought to be candidates in the election, were rejected by the council.
Former Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall has been in prison for almost two years, and his five-year sentence in the advance fund case, was confirmed by the Court of Appeal and recently upheld by the Supreme Court in Dakar; and his lawyers decided to resort to the rabat d’arrêt in an effort to push his candidacy.
In Wade’s case, the state maintains that his conviction by Senegal’s anti-graft court (CREI) caused him to lose his civil rights. However, his lawyers are contested this position, claiming that the ex-president’s son’s name is on Senegal’s electoral register, and thus he is eligible to be a candidate.