THIS JUST IN – Senegalese President Macky Salle moments ago concluded his much-anticipated speech to the nation in which he declined to seek a third term bid.
Macky Salle’s statement puts to rest suspicions that have formed the basis for much national outrage stemming from his suggestion in March that the new constitution gave him the right to seek another term beyond the second one that he is currently serving.
Salle was elected into office ironically via a similar national outrage against President Abdoulaye Wade’s attempt to run for an illegal third term.
During his first term, Salle shepherded a constitutional amendment that interestingly reduced the presidential term from seven years to five, but it did not affect his first term.
Consequently, Salle served out his full first term of seven years and was re-elected in 2019 to serve a second term of five years that ends in 2024.
But earlier this year in March, Macky Salle suggested that the new constitution grants him the option of running for a third term – a claim that swiftly unleashed widespread protests resulting in fatal clashes with the police.
And two weeks ago, a Senegalese official was brutally beaten by Senegalese youth on the street of Paris as they openly shouted insulting remarks against President Salle.
The tension in the country had risen up to a tipping point in anticipation of Salle’s speech tonight. A speech the previous evening by young opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, openly called on Senegalese to hit the streets in protest if Macky Sally left any more doubt as to his intentions to run for a third term.
Sonko is a darling of the youth and his massive support posed a threat to Salle, who according to Sonko, orchestrated a fabricated claim of rape by Sonko’s masseuse and resulted in his imprisonment.
With Macky Salle ruling out a third term bid, the stage is now set for a non-incumbent presidential campaign towards the election of a new Senegalese president in February 2024.
DNT News with Correspondence reports from Geeby Diallo, Dakar.