Senegal’s President Looks to Third Term

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 9:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade says he is confident he could win re-election, a strong indication that he plans to run for another term in February despite street protests against his rule.

In his first major speech since the protests last month, Mr. Wade said Thursday he is willing to hold elections earlier than February if the opposition wants.

He said if the opposition thinks it can win, he will hold elections in 40 to 60 days in order to bring social cohesion and national harmony. However, Mr. Wade said he believes he will be the winner.

Last month, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, with some rioting, to protest an attempt by President Wade to alter the constitution. Many opponents feared the proposed constitutional changes would make it easier for the president to be re-elected, and place his son in line to eventually become president. Mr. Wade withdrew the proposal to change the constitution before parliament could vote.

The current constitution says a president must be elected with an absolute majority of the vote — 50 percent plus 1. Mr. Wade's ruling party had sought to lower that threshold to 25 percent. The party also sought to create a post of vice president, a move the opposition said was intended for Mr. Wade's son.