In a municipal election in January, the ruling celebration misplaced main cities to the opposition. Sunday’s ballot is one other check.
Senegal’s major opposition coalition is vying to realize clout in legislative polls on Sunday that can set the scene for a presidential election in 2024 – which may see President Macky Sall run for a controversial third time period.
Tensions have run excessive within the politically secure West African nation since violent protests broke out final yr after Sall’s major opponent Ousmane Sonko, who got here third within the final 2019 presidential election, was arrested on rape costs. Sonko denies the allegations.
Frustrations with financial hardship introduced by the coronavirus pandemic have been stoked by gasoline and meals value hikes linked to the conflict in Ukraine – elevating ire in opposition to a president accused of stifling his rivals and failing on guarantees to enhance livelihoods.
Some opponents worry Sall will breach a constitutional two-term restrict and run once more in 2024, an possibility he has neither confirmed nor denied.
Amid rising discontent, opposition events hope the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition will see its parliamentary majority slip under the 125 out of 165 seats it presently occupies within the Nationwide Meeting.
“Residents have brazenly expressed … fatigue within the face of hovering costs … the excessive price of residing, poverty and lack of jobs,” mentioned Moussa Diaw, political science lecturer at Gaston Berger College within the northern metropolis of Saint-Louis.
Senegal – an ocean-facing nation of roughly 17.5 million individuals pushed primarily by agriculture, fishing and tourism – additionally suffered a freeze of commerce with land-locked neighbour Mali. Sanctions had been imposed on Mali in January for failing to organise its personal elections after a coup.
Inflation is anticipated to succeed in 5.5 % this yr, in keeping with the Worldwide Financial Fund, which revised its progress forecast right down to about 5 % final month.
Sall, who swept to energy in 2012 and was elected once more in 2019, hinged his campaigns on big-ticket development initiatives corresponding to a high-speed practice line and a convention centre, in addition to oil and fuel manufacturing.
However critics say most of his achievements have primarily benefitted Senegal’s elite, regardless of enhancements in rural infrastructure and electrical energy access throughout his presidency.
Many additionally accuse Sall of attempting to eradicate his competitors. Two major rivals had been jailed on corruption costs in 2015 and 2018. Sonko is extensively thought-about the most recent sufferer.
The primary opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi’s nationwide listing for the legislative ballot was disqualified on technical grounds, sparking violent road protests throughout Senegal final month.
“The opposition has made exceptional good points amongst public opinion and youths,” mentioned Diaw. “If the president runs for a 3rd time period … the nation may tip into confrontation and disaster.”
In a municipal election in January, the ruling celebration misplaced main cities to the opposition.