Senegal: Thousands Gather Over Wade’s Sticky Election Bid

Supporters and opponents of Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade rallied Monday in Dakar just days before a ruling on the legality of his controversial bid to seek a third term in February polls.

At the Place de l’Obelisque in Dakar, thousands of Wade supporters dressed in white and waving white handkerchiefs welcomed the 85-year old leader, who arrived with his son Karim and several ministers.

A few kilometres away in the suburb of Guediawaye, hundreds of opposition supporters gathered at the request of the June 23 Movement which brings together civil society and opposition groups opposing Wade’s candidature.

Former minister and diplomat Ibrahima Fall accused Wade of “wanting to bring chaos” by trying to seek a third term after 12 years in power.

“Let us mobilise to refuse him and to mobilise for peace,” he told the crowd.

Wade was first elected in 2000 for a two-term mandate, and re-elected in 2007. But since the length of presidential terms was changed while he was in office he argues that he can run again for office.

Opposition and civil society fiercely disagree with his contention and tension around the poll has led to violent clashes in recent months.

The Constitutional Council — an authority made up of five judges which has the final say on constitutional matters — will decide on the validity of Wade’s candidature on Friday.

“If the council validates Wade’s candidature it will be a constitutional coup d’etat,” said Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, a former foreign minister who is running for president.

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