Candidates will soon begin filing their papers to run for president in Senegal in perhaps Africa’s most closely watched election in the new year. Voters go to the polls February 26 and exercise their constitutional right to vote for the next national leader.
Under Senegal’s constitution, approved in 2001, the nation’s president is limited to two terms. President Abdoulaye Wade is preparing to run for a third term, believing that since he was first elected in 2000, before the new constitution took effect, the term limit does not apply to his first term. Political activists and opposition parties fear that his plans to retain power mean he is intent on creating a political dynasty in the West African nation.
We urge President Wade to adhere to the spirit of his country’s constitution and to facilitate the transfer of power through free, transparent and credible elections. The voting must reflect the will of the Senegalese people and adhere to the constitution. Senegal has an opportunity to set an example for the orderly transfer of power in Africa. We call on all stakeholders to ensure that the election is free, fair and peaceful.