Presidential elections will be held in Senegal in 2024. Ousmane Sonko wants to run in these elections, he is considered the strongest challenger to President Macky Sall. With the judgment that has now been passed, Sonko could be excluded from the elections. Senegalese law provides for a suspended sentence of six months or more to be removed from the electoral roll.
Allegations of embezzlement against Minister of Tourism
Sonko’s case has been an appeal. In the first instance, he was sentenced in March to two months’ suspended imprisonment and a fine for defamation, against which he appealed. The court has now ordered a six-month suspended sentence and confirmed the fine of 200 million West African francs (around 300,900 euros) pronounced in March, as the news portal “SeneWeb” reports.
The defamation lawsuit was brought by Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang after Sonko accused him of embezzlement on television last year. Sonko can also appeal against the latest decision.
Heated atmosphere at the trials
In the past, there had been violent protests and sometimes violent clashes between security forces and his supporters at the politician’s court hearings. They consider the procedure to be politically motivated, with the aim of excluding the opposition from the upcoming elections in this way.
The opposition politician is on trial in another trial for rape and death threats. He denies the allegations. The 48-year-old came third in the 2020 elections. The opposition fears that incumbent President Macky Sall will stand for a third term, despite the fact that the constitution does not allow it. Sall has not yet commented on his plans.
Senegal, with almost 17 million inhabitants, is considered a stable multi-party democracy. However, with almost a year to go before the next presidential election, tension is rising in the country.
fab/kle (epd, dpa)