the stakes in the legislative elections on July 31

Last day of campaigning, Friday July 29 in Senegal, before legislative elections on Sunday July 31. One hundred and sixty-five parliamentary seats are at stake. There are eight lists in the competition. Most hope to maintain a comfortable majority in the Assembly, while the main opposition forces seek to impose the coexistence of President Macky Sall.

From our correspondent in Dakar,

A live televised face-to-face between two candidates: it happened on Tuesday July 26 in Ziguinchor, Casamance, between Victorine Ndeye, head of the majority list Benno Bokk Yaakaar, and Guy Marius Sagna, from of Inter – Opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi / Wallu Senegal.

The event is called ” historic by the defender of human rights Alioune Tine, while the campaign is mainly marked by caravans crossing the country, sonos to the maximum.

A campaign” tired », « there is no real substantive debate on the programs “, regretted for his part Mamadou Lamine Sarr, professor of political science at the Virtual University of Senegal. This happened without major incidents, after a chaotic start to the electoral process and the rejection by the Constitutional Council of the national list of incumbents of Yewwi Askan Wi, the main opposition coalition led by Ousmane Sonko.

Read also Senegal Legislative: the Constitutional Council decides after the appeals filed by the opposition

Ousmane Sonko, not a candidate but omnipresent

The mayor of Ziguinchor and outgoing deputy are therefore not candidates: these are the alternates, mostly unknown to the general public, who will represent Yewwi Askan Wi in the proportional vote. Personalities with often atypical backgrounds, such as Oumar Sy, civil aviation executive, head of the national list of replacements.

However, Ousmane Sonko was everywhere during the campaign, chain meetings and local visits. ” Whether we like him or not, we cannot deny his ability to move people, there is a Sonko phenomenon. “, According to an observer of political life.

After this third place in the presidential election in 2019,” he became a mobilizing force for the youth “. His arrest on an alleged rape case sparked violent riots in March 2021, which left at least thirteen dead. No date has been set for a trial in this case.

Objective for the opponent during these legislative elections: impose a cohabitation on President Macky Sall. For this, Yewwi Askan Wi joined the forces of the Wallu Senegal coalition, which was formed around. former president Abdoulaye Wade. The principle is simple: a coalition undertakes to support another in the department where it is in a strong position.

This union” will offend many said Ababacar Fall, general secretary of Gradec, the research and support group for participatory democracy and good governance. ” The strategy pays off, if the voters understand it well “, he added.

The majority put the balance on Macky Sall

On the side of the majority, the former Prime Minister, Aminata Touré, head of the national listand the candidates of Benno Bokk Yaakaar praised during the campaign the results and achievements of President Macky Sall since he came to power in 2012: the TER -Train Express Régional-, the new Senegal stadium or the Diamniadio Sports Palace as shown in the campaign posters.

As households worry about inflation and the high cost of living, former minister Amadou Ba praised in a press conference the merits of the Emerging Senegal Plan, the development program initiated by President Macky Sall. ” The victory was won “, assured the leaders of the coalition.

Without the polls, the barometer remains the last local elections on January 23. Yewwi Askan Wi’s opposition has recorded successes in major cities, especially in Dakar, Ziguinchor, or even Thiès. But the president’s coalition claims that ” nationwide hegemony “, with the majority of votes throughout the territory, and strong anchors, especially in Fouta (North), or in the region of Fatick (West).

a” third term referendum »

Six months after the local elections, these legislative elections are the last ballot before the next presidential election. ” It’s a warm-up”said researcher Mamadou Lamine Sarr, “ The entire political debate is monopolized by the 2024 deadline Ousmane Sonko has made his ambitions clear.

As for Macky Sall, he maintains the mystery of a possible third candidacy. ” This is a non-subject, the president will decide when the time comes », exasperated a member of the crowd. But the opposition made it one of the main themes of the campaign. “ This is the red line warned a Yewwi Askan Wi official.

The legislature may ” referendum for or against a third term “Ababacar said Fall of GRADEC for whom” this question has polluted the political debate since 2019 and must be decided “.

A reformed Assembly

Live or not, the 14th legislature has some surprises in store. “ Even if the opposition does not win a majority, there will be a rebalancing of the balance of power in the Assembly continued Ababacar Fall.

And new profiles can enter the hemicycle. ” The Assembly must show the true face of Senegal, with many young people, many women “, hopes Mamadou Lamine Sarr, who spoke in particular the new coalition Servant / MPR » created by the young journalist and columnist Pape Djibril Fall.

It’s in front” behemoths », the new coalition AAR Senegal (Alternative for a Rupture Assembly), which qualifies as opposition ” moderate “, also trying to be heard, around its leaders Thierno Alassane Sall and Abdourahmane Diouf.

A departure and arrival

Whatever the result, these legislative elections will mark the departure of the President of the National Assembly since 2012: Moustapha Niasse, pillar of political life since Léopold Sédar Senghor, first President of the Republic of Senegal.

And the ballot in principle will be followed by the arrival of the new Prime Minister. The position, removed by Macky Sall in 2019, then reinstated in November 2021, has not yet been filled. The choice of the personality to be the head of the government will be the first indication of the intentions of the Head of State for 2024.

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