/ languages

Choisir langue


Local elections setback for presidential succession plans

Article published on the 2009-03-24 Latest update 2009-03-24 13:44 TU

Karim Wade, son of President Abdoulaye Wade, lost his bid for a municipal seat in Dakar.(Photo: AFP)

Karim Wade, son of President Abdoulaye Wade, lost his bid for a municipal seat in Dakar.
(Photo: AFP)

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade’s ruling party faced its first set-back since gaining power after the opposition coalition declared victory in local elections across the country on Monday.

Report: Opposition claims victory in Senegal's local elections

24/03/2009 by Sherrif Bojang

While official results have not yet been released, Ahmadou Sall, one of Abdoulaye Wade’s officials, conceded that the ruling party has lost so many regions that it would be impossible for them to turn the results around.

The government’s Sopi 2009 ruling coalition conceded in a statement that it had lost control of “several big cities” including the capital, Dakar, where Wade’s son Karim failed to win a municipal seat, though downplayed the losses.

“If you look at the results in detail, we have won a majority of the towns, especially in the rural areas, in the south of the country and in parts of the north.” presidential spokesperson Ahmadou Sall, told RFI. “At the end of the day, even if we did lose a few big cities, we still have a strong majority which was given to us by the people of Senegal.”

Comment: Presidential spokesperson Ahmadou Sall

24/03/2009 by Laurent Correau

The opposition coalition, Benno Siggil Senegaal, Wolof for “United to Boost Senegal”, claimed that Karim’s run in Dakar was an attempt for the president to set his son up as a successor.

“There are two principal reasons,” for their election victory, says Abdoulaye Bathily, a founding member of the opposition coalition.

“Abdoulaye Wade has engaged in a policy of putting his son as a successor. He wanted through these elections to get his son elected in Dakar, to become mayor of Dakar, and from there to use Dakar for his presidential ambitions.

 “Since he came, Abdoulaye Wade has managed Senegal like his own family. The resources of the country have been totally diverted for personal gains. The democracy has been completely destroyed. The freedoms of speech, freedoms of organisation, freedoms for meetings.”

“We have gone backward in terms of democracy in Senegal,” Bathily added.

As for Karim’s political future after this initial loss, Bathily’s diagnostic isn’t promising.

“I think he is politically destroyed,” he said.

Wade now has three years to regroup before he faces presidential elections in 2012.

With reporting from correspondents Sherrif Bojang and Laurent Correau in Dakar, Senegal.