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Senegal’s legislative polls campaign kicks off

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The campaign for the July 30 legislative polls in Senegal, leading to the election of 165 MPs, was launched on Sunday with 47 lists of parties, coalitions and independent candidates that will crisscross the country for 21 days to seduce voters.In view of the controversy over the slow voting process that could result from the large number of lists, a consensus was reached between the National Electoral Commission (CENA), parties and coalitions, allowing the elector to choose at least five ballots papers, instead of the totality of the 47 existing lists.

Hailing the good organization of these elections, President Macky Sall, on Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting urged the government to “take all logistical and security measures to ensure a smooth campaign throughout the country, and adequate sensitization of the populations on the modalities of the vote.”

President Sall also invited “all political actors, to show a sense of responsibilities so that the electoral campaign is conducted, under the best conditions, for the consolidation of our democracy.”

The coalition dubbed ‘Benno Bokk Yaakar’ (BBY, ruling majority), headed by Prime Minister Mahammad Boun Abdallah Dionne, is among the competing lists.

As a splinter of the still-born Opposition Coalition called ‘Manko Taxawu Senegal’ (MTS), the ‘Wattu Senegal coalition,’ composed of the ‘Parti Democratique Senegalais (PDS), Bokk Guis-Guis, And-Jef/African Party for Democracy and Socialism (Aj/Pads), among others, is led at the national level by former President Abdoulaye Wade, now 91 years, who is expected to arrive in Dakar on Monday afternoon from Paris, France.

The Mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, who has been charged and detained for misappropriation of public funds, is leading the national list of ‘Manko Taxawu Senegal, another coalition also resulting from the
implosion of MTS.

Abdoul Mbaye, a former Prime Minister of President Macky Sall; the lawyers and former government members, El Hadj Diouf and Aissata Talla Sall (the mayor of the northern town of Podor); Abdoulaye Balde (former minister under President Wade and mayor of Ziguinchor, the capital of the southern region of Casamance); Modou Diagne Fada (former minister) and Modou Kara Mbacke, a religious leader, have all been chosen to lead a list.

The number of MPs at the National Assembly will increase from 150 to 165, following the constitutional reform of March 20, 2016, creating 15 seats of the Diaspora. These 15 additional parliamentarians will sit for the country’s 13th legislature.

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