Senegal’s Constitutional Court Bars Two Candidates From Contesting 2019 Presidential Election

Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade have 48 hours to appeal against the courts’ decision

Senegal’s Constitutional Court on Monday blocked two prominent presidential candidates from contesting the presidential elections next month. The five authorized candidates who are still in line for running in the elections include the outgoing Senegalese President Macky Sall, Idrissa Seck, Issa Sall, Madicke Niang, and Ousmane Sonko.

The constitutional court rejected applications filed by former Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade because of convictions for misuse of public funds.

The 63-year-old Sall, one of Senegal’s most popular politicians, was sentenced to a five-year jail term last March for fraudulent use of public funds. Although the Supreme Court denied Sall’s appeal earlier in January, his lawyer plans to take the case to another chamber of the court.

The 50-year-old Karim, who is the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, served as minister of state for international cooperation from 2009 to 2012. In 2015, shortly after his father’s Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) party designated him its candidate for the next presidential elections, he was sentenced to a six-year jail term for illegal enrichment- amassing a fortune allegedly worth $204 million.

Notably, Senegal’s electoral law bars citizens sentenced to more than five years in prison from running for president. Sall, who is currently in prison for misappropriation of money, doesn’t qualify because he is sentenced for an offense punishable by more than five years’ imprisonment.

While Wade was released from prison in 2016 after serving three years for corruption, the court says he is not a registered voter and therefore can’t be a candidate.

Both Sall and Wade have 48 hours to appeal against the courts’ decision.

Sall’s representative, Babacar Thioye Ba, said he would an appeal would be filed against the decision to bar his candidacy, reported Eye Witness News.

The court will publish a final list of approved candidates 35 days before the final voting date.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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