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In Senegal, the presidential camp loses its grip on the Assembly

After four days of battle of figures between the power and the opposition, in Senegal, the national commission of census of the votes finally decided, Thursday, August 4: by winning 82 seats out of 165, the movement of the Senegalese president, Macky Sall, has narrowly won the legislative elections, but he did not obtain an absolute majority, except for one deputy. A first in the history of the country since its independence in 1960.

Read also: Legislative elections in Senegal: the presidential camp loses the absolute majority, according to the provisional official results

According to the official provisional results, announced at the end of the afternoon, at the Dakar court, the ruling coalition, Benno Bokk Yakaar (“united for the same hope”), lost 43 deputies compared to the previous legislature. A tumble which did not prevent Aminata Touré, the head of the national list, from congratulating herself on a “clear and flawless victory”. “Fair play, she launched, Thursday evening, at the headquarters of the party, in the capital, would like the others to recognize their defeat. »

This is clearly not their intention. The opposition, after having won major town halls such as Dakar, Ziguinchor or Thiès, during the local elections in January, continues its breakthrough. According to the provisional results, the Yewwi Askan Wi coalition (“liberate the people”, YAW), notably led by Ousmane Sonko, won 56 seats, to which are added the 24 deputies of the Wallu Senegal coalition, led by the former president Abdoulaye Wade. Between them, these formations, which made an alliance before the ballot, therefore combine 80 deputies, neck and neck with power.

At the end of the Council of Ministers held on Wednesday, President Macky Sall was, for his part, pleased with the smooth running of the elections. “in calm, serenity and transparency, throughout the national territory”. A line shared by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, who, even before the proclamation of the results, tweeted “Thank you to President Macky Sall for our call yesterday” and addressed his “Congratulations to the Senegalese people and to Senegalese democracy for the spirit of calm and responsibility in which the legislative elections took place”.

Violent demonstrations

The observer mission of the Economic Community of West African States, which noted the character “peaceful and transparent” of the ballot, recommended to the political parties to “refrain from any premature proclamation of the results” and of “use regulatory remedies in the event of litigation. » The pre-campaign was marked by violent demonstrations which left at least three dead because of the invalidation by the Constitutional Council of one of the lists of the coalition led by Ousmane Sonko, forced to give up participating in the elections.

Read also: Legislative in Senegal: the presidential camp claims victory, the opposition contests

Referring to irregularities and fraud, Déthié Fall, YAW’s national agent, said Thursday morning that “any result announced would not engage the Yewwi-Wallu intercoalition”. The day before, Aïda Mbodj, another opposition leader, had spoken of “ballot stuffing” and of “prefabricated and unsigned minutes that they [le pouvoir] have created themselves, in localities in northern Senegal, considered strongholds of President Sall. So many errors which could, according to Mr. Fall, affect the results of the proportional vote and therefore the distribution of parliamentary seats. Requests have already been submitted to the Constitutional Council, which has five days to rule and announce the final results of the ballot.

“This remains a victory for us, because the regime in power does not have a parliamentary majority, this is an unprecedented fact. The opposition as a whole is in the majority., estimates Cheikh Tidiane Youm, one of the leaders of YAW, including in his tally the results of three small coalitions which each won a seat. The latter will play the role of arbiter in the battle for the emerging parliamentary majority.

A cohabitation is not excluded

It also remains to be seen whether the Yewwi-Wallu intercoalition will hold up in the long term. “Abdoulaye Wade, who would do anything for his son Karim [exilé à Doha après avoir été condamné, en 2015, à six ans de prison pour « enrichissement illicite »], has not spoken yet. It’s not all over”, warns Moussa Diaw, teacher-researcher in political science at Gaston-Berger University in Saint-Louis. According to several sources, contacts are already beginning to be forged between the camp of the former head of state and that of the current presidential movement.

“It’s a complicated configuration for the Head of State!, emphasizes Moussa Diaw. He is not required to choose the Prime Minister [un poste supprimé en 2019 et rétabli en décembre 2021] in the parliamentary majority, but that is the tradition. He will have to assess the balance of power, and his room for maneuver is very limited. » A cohabitation is not excluded, if the presidential camp does not manage to build an absolute majority.

A year and a half before the presidential election of 2024, “this closes the debate on a third term for Macky Sall”believes Mr. Diaw for whom there is a “rout” and one “rejection of government policy. » The high cost of living, the lack of jobs and prospects for young people, poor governance have got the better of the popularity of the head of state, according to the political scientist, ten years after his first election, in 2012.

Read also: Legislative elections in Senegal: the opposition calls for the suspension of the publication of the results

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