Violent protests have spread across Senegal following Monday’s vote to postpone the country’s presidential elections till Dec. 15.
BBC reports indicate that the first fatality has been recorded. The reports also suggest that amid the clashes in the capital Dakar, security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds.
Senegal’s parliament voted Monday, Feb. 5, to delay the nation’s presidential election until Dec. 15 in a chaotic voting process that took place after security forces broke up an opposition attempt to block the vote — and forcefully removed those lawmakers from the legislative building.
President Macky Sall postponed the elections following several complaints and allegations that a constitutional council has barred several candidates, including prominent politicians, from standing in the election that was initially scheduled to take place at the end of February. He expressed concern that these tumultuous circumstances could significantly impact the integrity of the ballot.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union advised the authorities to put the right measures in place to resolve any conflict and speed up processes to organize the elections.
In a communique dated Feb. 3, the ECOWAS Commission appealed to Senegalese authorities to “expedite processes in order to set a new date for the elections” while urging the “political class to prioritize dialogue and collaboration for transparent, inclusive and credible elections.”
Senegal is considered one of the West African nations with a stable democracy. However, recent events could make the nation lose that image.
This is a developing story. We’ll keep updating it.