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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Senegal leader's third term bid up to constitutional council

(AFP) – A debate over the legality of President Abdoulaye Wade's bid for a third term in power in next February's elections must be settled by the constitutional council, the presidency said Wednesday.

Some 60 opposition and civil society organisations have urged Wade, 85, to drop his controversial candidature after his bid to change election laws sparked recent riots in the capital. "Is asking someone not to be a candidate a republican act? Leave it to the constitutional council. If the candidature is invalid it is up to the constitutional council to say so," presidential spokesman Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye told journalists.
"The constitutional council will decide independently," he added, saying those opposing Wade's candidature "know they cannot beat him."
Wade was first elected in 2000, and although only two successive presidential terms are allowed, his party argues that this should be counted only from 2007 when a constitutional revision dropped the presidential term from seven years to five.
His critics accuse the president of lining up his 42-year-old son Karim Wade to succeed him.
The younger Wade was made minister of cooperation, regional development, air transport, and infrastructure in 2009, and in October 2010 was given the energy portfolio.
Wade sought to change the election laws which would have added a vice president to the presidential ticket for next year's polls, and dropped the winning threshold for a first-round victory to 25 percent of votes from the current 50 percent.
Violent protests in which riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of protesters on June 24, led Wade to abandon the proposed changes.
In an open letter to the country published on Sunday, Karim Wade said he "opposed any idea of a monarchical devolution of power."

Source: Daily News

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