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Senegalese voters cast their ballots this week in parliamentary elections, a highly-anticipated vote that opposition parties are hoping to win to prevent President Macky Sall from running again in the 2024 presidential elections, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Voters are choosing 165 lawmakers. Results are expected later this week, according to Senegal’s election authority.
Even so, Sall’s ruling coalition declared victory in 30 of 46 electoral districts, giving it a majority over the opposition. Coalition leader Benno Bokk Yaakar said the information is “precise, accurate, fair and not invented,” with wins in Senegal’s North, West and Central areas.
But the opposition quickly denounced the claims, saying that it had won the elections and called on the country’s youth to mobilize in order to “preserve their victory.”
The opposition is seeking to oust Sall’s coalition and prevent him from running for a third term in the upcoming presidential polls.
The elections come at a tense political moment in Senegal, a West African country that is considered stable in a region plagued by coups and tyrants’ end-runs around term limits.
Nevertheless, last year, protests against the arrest of Sall’s main opponent, Ousmane Sonko, over rape allegations which he has denied, descended into violence that led to over a dozen deaths.
Since then, Sonko and another of Sall’s opponents were disqualified as presidential candidates, causing widespread outrage and protests resulting in the deaths of three people in June this year.