Senegal votes in legislative elections

Senegal votes in legislative elections

The West African country of Senegal holds delayed legislative elections today. They were originally scheduled for July 2. Ahead of

Photo: Issouf Sanogo

Photo: Issouf Sanogo

The West African country of Senegal holds delayed legislative elections today. They were originally scheduled for July 2.

Ahead of the vote, government and opposition are deeply divided with President Macky Sall’s key rivals mired in a swamp of corruption allegations. Karim Wade, who held several senior government positions under his father Abdoulaye, was convicted of illegally amassing almost $200 million and currently lives in exile in Qatar. Meanwhile, Khalifa Sall Mayor of Dakar and head of the national opposition list is in custody for allegedly embezzling more than $3 million.

While the opposition claims that the charges are politically motivated, President Macky Sall’s Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition is expected to win the election comfortably. Mr Sall seems to have made good on his campaign promise of fighting corruption, with Senegal having risen to the 64th position—up 30 spots since his election in 2012— in Transparency International’s corruption perception index.

Even if Sall’s coalition manages to retain its commanding victory, the real challenge will be winning the presidential elections slated for 2019. Expect clashes between government and opposition forces to rise.