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

Posted January 27th, 2012 at 11:05 am (UTC-5)
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Hundreds of opposition activists in Senegal are holding a protest rally in the capital, Dakar, ahead of a high court ruling on whether President Abdoulaye Wade can seek a third term.

Opposition parties have threatened to riot if the country's Constitutional Court approves Mr. Wade's application to seek another term in next month's presidential vote.

The court faces a midnight Friday deadline.

After initially banning the demonstration, Senegal's interior minister on late Thursday said the government will allow the rally to take place.

Opposition parties had threatened to go ahead with the protest despite the government ban.

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.

Among the potential candidates awaiting final approval from the court is Senegalese pop star Youssou N'Dour.

N'Dour told VOA earlier this week that many of his countrymen believe Mr. Wade's re-election bid is unconstitutional.

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.