― Advertisement ―

HomeNewsSenegal's Highest Court Bars Opposition Leader From Presidential Race

Senegal’s Highest Court Bars Opposition Leader From Presidential Race

Senegal’s Highest Court Bars Opposition Leader From Presidential Race

The request of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to participate in the upcoming presidential elections next month was turned down by Senegal’s Constitutional Council on Friday. This decision was made because of incomplete documents, as explained by one of his attorneys, Cire Cledor Ly.

The judgment significantly undermines Sonko’s hopes of becoming president, which was already hindered by numerous legal challenges he has faced since being accused of rape in 2021. These legal issues have triggered widespread demonstrations marked by violence throughout the nation.

Despite being acquitted of the rape accusation, Sonko has been convicted of defamation and a violation classified as inappropriate conduct towards individuals under the age of 21, as outlined in the penal code.

He was detained in July on charges of insurrection and removed from the voter list. Despite this, he managed to file his candidacy from prison following a court decision in his favor in southern Senegal.

Ly mentioned that Sonko’s application was turned down by the council due to an incomplete file. He noted that the council didn’t elaborate on the specific deficiencies but indicated that Sonko’s team planned to file a complaint once they obtained clarification regarding the missing documents.

The ongoing legal battle involving the well-known opposition figure has sparked multiple episodes of occasionally fatal turmoil during the last couple of years. This has harmed Senegal’s standing as one of the most secure democracies in West Africa, particularly leading up to the upcoming election that will decide President Macky Sall’s replacement.


Sonko refutes any misconduct allegations and claims that all accusations against him are driven by political motives. Contrarily, the government rejects this assertion and blames Sonko for fueling unrest. As a consequence, his Pastef party was disbanded by the government in July.

Sonko, a previous tax collector known for his populist language, secured a surprisingly high number of votes as a first-time candidate, finishing third in Senegal’s 2019 presidential race.

He gained significant traction, especially among disenchanted city-dwelling young people, as he emerged as the spokesperson for the grievances regarding economic struggles and the scarcity of employment opportunities, which tarnished Sall’s favor among the public throughout his two consecutive terms in power.

Candidates’ applications for the presidential election are presently under review in preparation for the January 20 deadline to announce the definitive list of approved contenders.

In September, Sall designated Prime Minister Amadou Ba as the candidate representing the ruling coalition.

Amid Sonko’s legal challenges, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a close associate of his, has applied to participate as an independent candidate.

Senegal’s Highest Court Bars Opposition Leader From Presidential Race