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Senegal's president dissolves government ahead of elections

Published October 07,2023
Senegal's President Macky Sall addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 19, 2023. (REUTERS File Photo)
Senegalese President Macky Sall has dissolved his government a few months before elections in the West African country.

Prime Minister Amadou Ba, who is Sall's designated successor as the presidential candidate of the ruling coalition, is the only one to remain in office for now, according to a statement issued by the presidential office late on Friday evening.

The composition of the new government is to be announced soon.

Senegal's roughly 17 million inhabitants will elect a new head of state on February 25.

After violent protests, Sall - a centre-right politician who has been in office since 2012 - declared that he would not run for a controversial third term.

Dozens of potential candidates are canvassing for the necessary number of supporters to be approved by the electoral authorities.

Leading opposition politician Ousmane Sonko was removed from the electoral rolls after being sentenced to prison in an abuse trial. He is not allowed to vote or be elected.

Sonko was taken into pre-trial detention on other charges in late July, and was hospitalized during a hunger strike. His party, Pastef, was dissolved by the government after repeatedly calling for violent protests.

At least 18 people have been killed this year in massive unrest in the wake of Sonko's trials, several by gunshots of unexplained origin. The government temporarily blocked mobile internet access and deployed the army to calm the situation.

Senegal has not experienced war or violent upheaval since its independence in 1960 and had been considered one of the most stable multi-party democracies in the region.