Senegal – Senegal held municipal and regional elections on Sunday amid growing political tensions. The municipal election will serve as a gauge of support for President Macky Sall and his ruling coalition.
Political tensions grew in Senegal over whether President Macky Sall will seek to extend his rule beyond the two-term limit. The Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition, which comprises Sall’s Alliance for the Republic, the Socialist Party and the Alliance of Forces for Progress, currently holds most of the 552 municipal seats. The coalition also holds 125 of the 160 seats in parliament. However, some opposition parties have allied to head off any attempt by President Sall. The president’s tenure has been plagued by accusations that he unjustly seeks a third term in power.
The municipal election is considered essential for the legislative election in June and the presidential election in 2024. Ousmane Khouma of Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University said that the regional elections on Sunday are kind of primaries for the 2024 presidential election.
President Macky Sall
President Sall, 60, came to power in 2012. He won re-election in 2019 with 58% of the vote in the poll. He has portrayed himself as a moderniser who helped to boost the economic growth of the country.
Reportedly, around 6.6 million voters are expected to vote at more than 15,000 polling stations. One of the key goals for Sall will be to regain control of the capital. The biggest prize is the capital of Senegal, Dakar. The capital is currently in the hands of the opposition, where the ruling party coalition list is led by Senegal’s Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr.
Sall will face six opponents in the upcoming election. The lists include those led by outgoing mayor Soham El Wardini, the first woman to lead the city, and popular opposition mayor of the Dakar Mermoz municipality Barthelemy Dias.