The Government of Senegal has approved a decree for a new postponement of the local elections, scheduled for this Sunday, which is the third extension since the initial date in March 2019.
The executive said the decision was taken during a meeting of the Council of Ministers, without providing a new date for the vote, amid a major political, economic and health crisis in the country, as reported by the Senegalese state news agency, APS.
The municipal and departmental elections are part of the dialogue process launched in May 2019 by the president, Macky Sall, after his re-election, with the aim of bringing positions closer with the opposition, although part of the opposition has boycotted the proceedings.
The political crisis deepened in early March after the arrest of prominent opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, accused of rape and death threats, which triggered a series of protests and riots that resulted in the deaths of five people, according to the official balance.
The opposition candidate, who came third in the 2019 presidential elections, was arrested on March 3 for “disturbing public order” when he was on his way to a court in the capital, Dakar, to appear on these charges against him.
The arrest took place after a score of opposition parliamentarians lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the removal of Sonko’s parliamentary immunity, which paves the way for legal proceedings against him.
Following this, Sall made an address to the nation in which he called for “calm and serenity”. “Let us all, together, quell our resentments and avoid the logic of confrontation, which leads to the worst,” he said, before stressing that the protests have been driven by unrest because of the economic crisis, exacerbated by the coronavirus.