The Senegalese Constitutional Council nullifies the postponement of the presidential elections on February 25

On Thursday, Senegal's highest electoral authority annulled the president's decision to postpone the presidential elections scheduled for February 25 and reschedule them to December, considering these steps unconstitutional.

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Senegal's Constitutional Council has annulled a decree signed by President Macky Sall that postponed elections, under a ruling approved by seven council members.

The ruling said the National Assembly's move on February 5 to reschedule the vote to December 14 was “unconstitutional.”

Presidential candidates and opposition lawmakers filed a number of legal challenges to the parliamentary bill last week, which also extended President Macky Sall's term, in what critics described as an “institutional coup.”

Sall, who has been in power since 2012, caused an uproar on February 3 when he canceled the elections due to disagreements over the exclusion of potential candidates and fears of a repeat of the unrest seen in 2021 and 2023.

Read moreSenegal's democratic record is at stake as presidential elections postponed spark a crisis

Parliament supported Sall's suspension of elections until December 15, but only after security forces stormed the building and removed some opposition lawmakers who opposed the bill.

The postponement of elections in one of the most stable democracies in West Africa led to violent protests, during which three people were killed and dozens were arrested.

Senegal's main international partners also condemned the move and called on the government to hold the vote as soon as possible, fearing violent unrest.

Opposition and civil society groups issued new calls for demonstrations on Friday.

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Many government opponents were released from prison

Earlier Thursday, a number of government opponents were released from prison, their lawyers told AFP, in what appeared to be an attempt to appease public opinion.

Lawyer Sheikh Quresi Ba told AFP: “Most of my clients were released in politically motivated cases,” adding that the matter involved dozens of detainees.

Agence France-Presse obtained a list of the names of many of the released dissidents from lawyer Moussa Sar.

The list includes Aliou Sané, coordinator of the opposition citizens' movement “Y'en a marre” (“We are fed up”), Djamil Sané, mayor of a Dakar district, and a number of members of the dissolved opposition Pastif party. – Which is headed by opposition leader Ousman Sonko.

“As a result of international pressure, President Macky Sall ordered the release of some prisoners,” said Suleiman Djim, a member of the Association of Families of Political Prisoners.

Sonko – one of Sall's main opponents – and his deputy, Bassero Diomaye Faye, have been detained since 2023. There is currently no news on their possible release.

(France 24 with Associated Press, Reuters)

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