In a televised speech on Monday, Senegal President Macky Sall put an end to the widespread speculation surrounding his political future by announcing that he will not seek re-election in the 2024 elections.
This declaration quelled rumors that he intended to extend his stay in power, a move that his critics argued would have violated the law.
The anticipation of a potential third term for President Sall has instigated bouts of violent unrest since 2021, resulting in numerous fatalities and causing Senegal’s reputation as a pillar of stable democracy in West Africa to falter.
During his address, President Sall stated, “The 2019 term was my second and last term. I have deep respect for the Senegalese people,” affirming his commitment to abide by the constitutional term limits.
The most recent wave of unrest erupted after the sentencing of prominent opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to a two-year prison term on charges related to an alleged rape, which he vehemently denies.
Sonko has asserted that these accusations were politically motivated, aimed at preventing him from participating in the upcoming elections.
In response to the possibility of President Sall pursuing another term, Sonko urged his supporters to remain prepared to take to the streets.
However, with the president’s announcement, the political landscape in Senegal is set for a significant transformation as the country prepares for the 2024 elections.