Senegal: Signs of Backsliding in One of Africa’s Strongest Democracies

cc MONUSCO Photos, modified,

Senegal President Macky Sall has indefinitely postponed democratic elections due to be held on February 25. The unprecedented move raises concerns for a country that has long been seen as a stronghold for democracy in a region that has been the victim of a coup contagion in the past three years.

Having completed two terms, President Sall, in a national address, attributed the indefinite postponement of the elections to a dispute regarding eligible candidates. Despite affirming his decision not to seek a third term, he did not specify a new election date and in all likelihood will not, at least in the near term. Indeed, the promise of a “national dialogue,” straight after the announcement, came with no clear timeline. Yet, a month ago, Sall reiterated Senegal’s long democratic tradition, which he dated back to 1848 when the republic was first given a seat at the national assembly of France.

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