In its initial response, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) refrained from outright condemnation but voiced “concern over the circumstances” surrounding the delay of Senegal’s presidential election.
President Macky Sall’s unilateral decision to postpone the election, originally slated for February 25th, has drawn attention and prompted the regional bloc to call for a swift announcement of a new date.
President Sall cited concerns that proceeding with the election as planned could exacerbate tensions in the country following the disqualification of certain candidates by the courts. He pledged to initiate a national dialogue to ensure a fair and peaceful electoral process.
However, critics have raised eyebrows, pointing to Sall’s past attempt to amend the constitution to extend his term limit, a move that was abandoned amid domestic and international pressure.
In response, ECOWAS urged Senegalese authorities to promptly set a new date for the election, emphasizing the importance of transparency and inclusivity. The bloc’s stance was articulated in a statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission and conveyed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
“The ECOWAS Commission expresses concern over the circumstances that have led to the postponement of the elections,” the statement read.
“Also, the bloc appeals to the competent authorities to expedite the various processes in order to set a new date for the elections.”
Furthermore, ECOWAS called on the political actors in Senegal to prioritize dialogue and collaboration to ensure a credible electoral process.
While President Sall faced criticism for his previous bid to extend his tenure, he has been lauded for respecting democratic norms by refraining from seeking reelection. ECOWAS echoed this sentiment, commending Sall for upholding his decision and urging him to safeguard Senegal’s democratic heritage.
“The ECOWAS Commission salutes President Macky Sall for upholding his earlier decision not to run for another term,” the statement affirmed. “It encourages him to continue to defend and protect Senegal’s long-standing democratic tradition.”
The ECOWAS Commission affirmed its commitment to monitoring the situation in Senegal closely as the country navigates its electoral process.