Tax inspectors to poultry boss: Senegal’s presidential candidates | Politics News


Senegalese voters have a crowded subject of 19 candidates to select from when they vote this month to elect a new leader to substitute President Macky Sall in a restricted election whose hold off sparked worries for the foreseeable future of democracy in the West African state.

The vote on March 24 will take area right after Sall’s attempt to postpone the election, originally planned for February, was overturned by Senegal’s leading election authority just after weeks of violent protests.

The ruling by the Constitutional Council has been welcomed by several in the place – but observers have warned it could not be the previous twist in the saga. Presently, various politicians have petitioned the courts to postpone the election anew, saying the software process for the candidates was flawed.

“Every 7 days you have a new kind of scandal – this is Senegal,” explained Ndongo Samba Sylla, head of study and policy for Strategies, a network of political and financial analysts. “There could be new developments” in the times forward, he cautioned.

Meanwhile, candidates are still left with much less than two weeks to get above voters all through the month of Ramadan, a interval usually devoted to non secular reflection and worship rather than politics.

Here’s a seem at the major candidates — and a common thread that binds some of them:

Bassirou Diomaye Faye

The 49-calendar year-outdated tax inspector is the applicant of an opposition coalition that features associates of the dissolved PASTEF bash of Ousmane Sonko, a firebrand politician and intense critic of Sall.

Sonko, who came 3rd in the 2019 presidential election, was broadly found as the most common candidate for this year’s vote. But the opposition leader was detained in July right after staying convicted of “morally corrupting” the youth and was afterwards barred from working about libel expenses. Faye has been nominated by Sonko as his successor.

Sonko, like Faye, was a tax inspector.

Opposition supporters sing and dance during a meeting two days before the trial of one of the leaders, Ousmane Sonko, in Dakar on March 14, 2023. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP)
Opposition supporters sing and dance in the course of a assembly two days prior to the trial of a single of Senegal’s opposition leaders, Ousmane Sonko, in Dakar [File: John Wessels/AFP]

Faye will find to capitalise on Sonko’s recognition, specially amid Senegal’s unemployed youth. 3 out of 10 Senegalese aged 18 to 35 are unemployed. Youth joblessness is an challenge further more exacerbated by the speed at which the inhabitants grows – it doubles just about every 25 decades, in accordance to Afro Barometer details.

But Faye has been in preventive detention considering that April, even when his confront adorns T-shirts of opposition supporters, who have chanted his identify at campaign rallies. He is predicted to be introduced shortly as portion of an amnesty legislation.

“Freed or not freed, the bulk of Senegalese has currently made their option. Who wishes to vote for Faye will vote for him,” stated Thiaba Camara, president of the civil modern society group Demain Senegal.

Faye has named for the institution of a new national currency the renegotiation of contracts amongst the governing administration and corporations in sectors ranging from energy and mining to fishing and a reduction of presidential powers, like the reintroduction of the vice presidency. He has also pledged to equally distribute income out of a gasfield that is envisioned to begin output this calendar year.

Amadou Ba

A previous prime minister, Ba was also as soon as a tax inspector. Ba is the presidential candidate of Sall’s Alliance for the Republic bash. He ran the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning from 2013 to 2019 and was the country’s top diplomat in 2019 and 2020.

A Ba victory would necessarily mean plan continuity with the previous governing administration, anything that would probably guarantee foreign buyers and assure a cohesive fiscal reaction at a time when Senegal wants the aid of the Worldwide Financial Fund, which authorised a $1.8bn loan in June.

But since the 62-yr-aged was portion of Sall’s government, he faces general public dissatisfaction above the rollback of civil liberties below the outgoing president. Dozens of men and women have been killed and more than 1,000 jailed in the political turmoil of the earlier a few several years.

“Ba is perceived as the applicant who embodies the old procedure, a person which hardly ever disconnected from constructions set up because independence,” claimed Hawa Ba, the head of the Open up Culture Initiative for West Africa.

Amadou Ba
Amadou Ba is the presidential candidate for Sall’s get together [File: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters]

Khalifa Sall

A different presidential hopeful is Dakar’s two-time mayor (no relation to the president).

The commonly preferred politician was jailed for 5 years in 2018 on charges of fraud, which his supporters stated ended up politically enthusiastic. The conviction barred him from jogging in the pursuing year’s presidential election, in which he was noticed as a sturdy competitor to Macky Sall.

Subsequent a presidential pardon, the former lawmaker, who educated as a instructor, was freed in 2019.

Sustainable improvement has been central to Khalifa Sall’s electoral campaign. He has mentioned he wants to emphasis on responsible drinking water administration and equitable land distribution. Additional than 70 percent of Senegal’s population lives off agriculture and the livestock sector.

Idrissa Seck

Until eventually April, Seck was the head of the Financial, Social and Environmental Council.

The 63-year-outdated received 21 % of the vote in the 2019 presidential election, ending second in the race. Just after the vote, his Rewmi social gathering joined President Sall’s ruling coalition.

Stories suggested Seck and Sall fell out just after the former declared his opposition to any individual searching for a third time period, alluding to the latter’s suspected ambitions. Seck also argued that Sonko ought to have been authorized to operate in the 2024 election.

Idrissa-Seck, Senegal
Idrissa Seck completed next in the 2019 presidential election [File: Martin Dixon/EPA]

Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne

Primary minister from 2014 to 2019, Dionne served as the chief of the Central Bank of West African States and the United Nations Industrial Improvement Group. The agency’s mandate is to guidance economic advancement in creating nations around the world and economies in changeover.

He is a laptop or computer engineer by schooling. Dionne has pledged to be a “president of reconciliation” if elected and has pushed for “economic sovereignty” for Senegal.

Anta Babacar Ngom

Ngom is the only woman applicant and would be the very first women of all ages to provide as Senegal’s president if elected. A political newcomer, the 40-yr-outdated operates Senegal’s largest poultry firm, which was started by her father.

She has mentioned she wants to enhance the personal sector, promote totally free health care and reform the training technique, which include including area languages on major of French.



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