Political tensions have erupted in Senegal following the decision of the director general of Elections not to admit the National and Substitute lists of Candidates filed by the opposition group Yewwi Askan Wii and the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition respectively, ahead of the July 31st, 2022 Parliamentary election.
The Constitutional Council of Senegal has also rejected the proportional list of Yewwi Askan Wii, led by the opposition leader and head of PASTEF party Ousman Sonko. The reason for the rejection of the said list which contained 50 candidates, is that an error was made and the list was incomplete and as such, the Council decided not to validate it, in accordance with Senegal’s Electoral Laws, LamToro News (LTN) has learnt.
A similar fate occurred to Benno Bokk Yakaar (the ruling party’s coalition) Coalition led by the former Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy Aminata Toure, popularly known as Mimi Toure. But in the case of Benno Bokk Yakaar, their list of substitutes which also contained 50 candidates was rejected due to an error. It was also observed that the Benno Boka Yakarr Coalition too did not observe the gender equality rule of the Electoral Law in the preparation of the said list of substitutes, hence the sanction against them too on that list.
Credible information gathered by LamToro News has it that the major list of Yewwi Askan Wii (liste titulaires) and the minor list (Substitute list or liste de suppléants in French) of Benno Bokk Yakaar were rejected by Police Commissioner Tanor Thiendella Fall, Director General of Elections (Directeur général des élections) for failing to meet the electoral law criteria.
An investigation launched by LamToro News shows that Senegal’s Parliamentary election is designed in such a way that each Coalition of party will submit a National list of 50 candidates and a substitute list of the same number 50 candidates. However, this is different from the Departmental list in which most Mayors and a few other politicians at the Departmental level will apply.
LTN gathered information that the Senegalese Electoral Law demands that such lists must be submitted prioritizing gender equality (meaning names of Candidates should begin with a man and followed by a woman and it goes like that until the last person Nr. 50 on the list) and both the National List and the list of Substitute must have the exact number of people (50) but no duplicate and all persons must be eligible to contest Parliamentary elections in accordance with the laws of Senegal.
Senegal’s National Assembly has 165 Members, out of which, 150 are elected from the country and 15 are elected from the Diaspora regions.
A member of the opposition (not part of Yewwi Askan Wii) who wished to remain anonymous has told LTN that: “the Yewwi Askan Wii coalition included a lady, who is not above 25 years of age, which is not acceptable by our country’s Electoral Code. Anyone not above 25 years is not eligible to serve in the Parliament as a Member and that is why this Yewwi Askan Wii list was rejected. Also, before, it was rejected, they were called to rectify it but unfortunately, the leaders of Yewwi Askan Wii took the name of another lady who was already listed in the list of Substitutes and replaced her with this particular candidate. Automatically, they were rejected because that is not acceptable. The same name cannot be in two lists and that name was already submitted. What they should have done, was to get someone outside whose name was not on the two lists and replaced her with the said young lady. Normally, the Electoral Commission gives them three (3) days to rectify such errors but unfortunately, they could not do that properly, instead, they committed another mistake. So the Electoral Commission decided to admit the list of Substitutes for Yewwi Askan Wii and rejected its main list, the National list (liste de titulaires) which contains the names of Ousman Sonko and Co because this list was incomplete and not filled until the deadline passed.“
He added that Ousman Sonko himself has admitted the mistake they made and he published it on his Facebook page on 20th May.
Another opposition militant said: “Even the Departmental list of the Mayor of Dakar Barthelemy Diaz had a problem but when he was called, they rectified the error within the deadline. That is why when he filed an appeal, he was accepted, the court ruled in his favour and will participate in the election with the candidates on his list.“
“Our Coalition Benno Bokk Yakaar, filed an appeal but lost it because our list of Substitute had a problem of gender equity. However, our main national list has been accepted and we will participate in the election with that list and the departmental lists,“ a source close to the presidency revealed.
The Constitutional Council (Conseil constitutionnel ) judge Pape Oumar Saho, who is responsible for presidential and parliamentary elections in Senegal also confirmed the decision of the Director General of Election, Mr. Tanor Thiendella Fall.
Meanwhile, among the key opposition figures who will not be part of the Legislative Assembly even if their coalition (Yewwi Askan Wii) wins the elections are; Ousman Sonko, head of the Yewwi Askan Wii coalition list, Aida Mbodj , Malick Gackou, leader of Grand Parti, Cheikh Tidiane Youm of the PUR party, Habib Sy, a former minister under ex-president Abdoulaye Wade, Mr. Sy was also one-time a director of Cabinet under Wade, Serigne Mansour Sy Djamil, leader of Bess Du Niak party, Cheikh Abdoulaye Dieye, a former minister under President Macky Sall and Mr. Dieye is a former Mayor of St. Louis, Dethie Fall who formed his own party recently called PRP, Bassirou Diomaye Faye of PASTEF, etc.
This means that if Yewwi Askan Wii wins, those in their list of Substitute will serve in the Parliament but not any of the above-mentioned top politicians.
Sources also informed LamToro News that the following parties and Coalitions are qualified to participate in the 31st July Parliamentary election in Senegal;
*Benno Bokk Yakaar, led by Mimi Toure,
*Wallu Senegal (former President Wade’s PS party is part of this Coalition) ,
*Le Serviteur (a new coalition led by journalist Pape Djibril Fall),
*Arr Senegal Coalition, led by former minister Thierno Alasan Sall, Dr. Abdourahman Diouf, Thiern Bocoum, Cheikh Oumar Sy, former Member of Parliament, Cheriff Monteul, a serving Member of Parliament, who was a member of Bountu Bii Party. He is being described as the best MP in Senegal currently.
*Bokk Guiss Guiss party led by Pape Diop, former Mayor of Dakar from 2002 to 2009.
*Naatangeh Askanwii Coalition
*Bountu Bii Party
*Yewwii Askan Wii Coalition, led by Ousman Sonko. The Chairman of this Coalition is Khalifa Sall, former Mayor of Dakar, who was jailed for alleged fraud.
It would be recalled that the director general of Elections in Senegal Police Commissioner Tanor Thiendella Fall is a seasoned officer and has been serving in that office for many years. He was the director of Operations at the Elections Office in 2000 when former president Abdoulaye Wade won the presidential election against former president Abdou Diouf.