Senegalese woke up Tuesday (Jul.4) to the news that president Macky Sall would not seek a third term in next year’s presidential polls.
On Monday (Jul. 3) evening he addressed the nation and ended months of tense uncertainty. This Dakar resident was satisfied.
“Like all Senegalese Yesterday, we were able to tune into the President of the Republic’s address. Well, he came out on top,” logistics operations officer Cheikh Oumar Sow said.
“As you might have noticed, Senegal has recently been going through some very difficult times. And to get the country out of this difficult situation, the President has taken a wise measure to get Senegal out of it, as he has always done. “
Some banner headline of some local newspapers hailed a dignifying decision. The leader has spent 11 years in office.
There have been widespread fears that Sall’s declaration about his political future could spark new waves of unrest throughout the West African nation.
“Violence had indeed been expected, because the Senegalese youth have become very alert and demanding,” company consultant Hassane Drabo reckoned.
“They are demanding their share of democratic participation in this country. The president’s speech was a real relief. However, the truth is that we all need to refocus to see how we can move Senegal forward in the strata of contemporary democracy. “
Fears of violence
On the eve of Sall’s nationwide address, his fiercest critic, Ousmane Sonko, had urged the public to “come out en masse” and oppose him.
Sall had stoked tensions over whether he would use a constitutional revision to argue he could extend the country’s traditional two-term limit. The president did maintain Monday it would have been lawful for him to run.
Some Senegalese hope his non-candidacy will serve as an example.
“Macky Sall has resolved the situation. Now, any future president will know very well that he can only serve two terms and then leave,” artist King Toundey said.
For example, if Macky Sall had done the opposite, another president would have come, then changed the constitution, do everything in his power to stay there. But that’s all over now. This term limit problem has now been resolved. It has definitely been resolved.”
Macky Sall’s supporters now await the identity of the one who will run on the ticket of Sall’s party.
Some of his opponents are cautious, arguing other regional leaders such as Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire who’d promised not to seek a controversial term only to do so.