A Case Study in Entropy

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Senegal set March 24 as the new date for its presidential election Wednesday – a month after its president delayed the vote, triggering chaos throughout the country which until last year had been held up as a bastion of stability in the region, the Associated Press reported.

On Feb. 3, President Macky Sall postponed the election initially scheduled for Feb. 25, for 10 months. Opposition leaders accused Sall, who is unable to run due to term limits, of refusing to relinquish power.

Meanwhile, Sall promised to step down on April 2, regardless of whether the election occurred before or after that date.

The announcement to postpone the vote immediately triggered demonstrations and violent clashes. Amid the chaos, the Constitutional Council, the highest body in Senegal’s judiciary, quashed Sall’s move and requested that the election be held as soon as possible.

After a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, government spokesperson Abdou Karim Fofana said the president decided to organize the first round of the presidential election on March 24. He added that a new executive branch of government would be appointed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Amadou Ba was “released” from his position to run in the election, being succeeded by Interior Minister Sidiki Kaba. Ba is Sall’s handpicked successor.

Later that day, the Constitutional Council set March 31 as election day, creating confusion and prolonging the uncertainty caused by the president’s postponement of the ballot, Le Monde reported.

The Constitutional Council had said that holding the election after the end of Sall’s mandate was unconstitutional. It rejected a petition from civil society and the opposition to organize the vote for June 2.

The top court eventually aligned with the government on Thursday.

The decision also comes after lawmakers passed an amnesty bill for political crimes committed between 2021 and 2024. The bill caused controversy as the opposition pointed out that it would benefit people convicted of murder and torture, France’s Libération reported. Nonetheless, it could also be good news for leading opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, who is currently in jail and barred from running in the presidential election.

Election authorities are now scrambling to organize the vote, which will take place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when most Senegalese will be fasting, France 24 noted.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at hello@dailychatter.com.

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.

Copy link