Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, will not seek a third term

President Macky Sall during state visit to Portugal, June 2023

President Macky Sall of Senegal has ruled out running for reelection in 2024, putting an end to widespread rumors that he would do so.

He declared in a televised address that the 2019 term was his final one.

Since 2021, rumors that he would attempt to consolidate his position of authority have stoked unrest and resulted in dozens of fatalities.

If Mr. Sall decided to run again, which most legal experts believe would have violated the constitution, the opposition had called for new demonstrations.

"There has been much speculation and commentary on my eventual candidacy for this election," Mr. Sall, 61, said in his speech late on Monday.

"I carefully considered my choice. is not to participate in the upcoming election as a candidate.

Senegal is bigger than me and is full of capable leaders for the development of the nation, he continued.

Ousmane Sonko, the leader of the opposition, was recently sentenced to two years in prison for the crime of "corrupting youth," which caused outrage in Senegal.

The 48-year-old was exonerated of rape charges but found guilty of acting immorally toward a person under the age of 21.

At least 16 people were killed when thousands of protesters took to the streets of several cities.

Sonko denies any wrongdoing, and those who support him claim the trial was an attempt to bar him from running for president.

Protesters running in Dakar, Senegal. Photo: 1 June 2023
Following the June court ruling regarding Ousmane Sonko, deadly violence erupted in Senegal.

Since 2012, Mr. Sall has served as president.

He amended the constitution in 2016 to impose a two-term limit on the office of president. His supporters countered that because the first term was served under the previous constitution, he could still seek reelection for a third term.

The notion that he would attempt to maintain his hold on power has damaged Senegal's standing as a democratic country in the uneasy West African region.

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