Senegal Opposition Rallies Ahead of Ruling on President’s Re-election Bid

Posted January 27th, 2012 at 2:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Hundreds of opposition protesters chanted and marched through the streets of Dakar, ahead of a Senegalese high court ruling on whether President Abdoulaye Wade can seek a third term.

Marchers got a show of support from Senegalese pop star Youssou N'Dour, who told reporters it is clear President Wade is banned from running again.

“History is being made today here in Senegal. We are not going to accept anything else but our constitution, which is very clear. He doesn't have the right to run once more. It's my final word on this. It's clear and we are ready.''

N'Dour is one of several possible candidates in next month's presidential election.

The court faces a midnight Friday deadline and opposition parties have threatened to riot if the court approves Mr. Wade's application to seek another term.

The Senegalese government initially banned Friday's demonstration but the country's interior minister said late Thursday the rally would be allowed to proceed.

The 85-year-old Wade is seeking re-election despite a constitutional amendment that limits presidents to just two terms.

Mr. Wade was first elected president in 2000, and re-elected in 2007. He argues the amendment does not apply to him since it was not in effect when he first assumed office.

Anti-government riots paralyzed Dakar in June after the ruling party moved to create the post of vice president and lower the percentage of votes needed to win the presidential election.

The president's opponents said the moves were aimed at making it easier for Mr. Wade to be re-elected, and for his son, Karim Wade, to succeed him. The proposals were later dropped.