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Senegal Election Law Reviewed Ahead of 2024 Ballot

A young woman holds up pictures of Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim as she waits for the former President at Dakar international airport, Dakar, Senegal, July 10, 2017. (S. Christensen/VOA)

DAKAR — A political commission in Senegal has proposed changing the electoral law so that two opposition figures who were struck from the voter roll could run in the February 2024 presidential election as a measure to ease conflict.

The Political Commission of the National Dialogue said those who have been struck from the voter rolls should regain their right to vote - and be eligible to run for office, according to the commission's conclusions seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Karim Wade, a former minister and the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, and Khalifa Sall, a former mayor of Dakar, were handed jail sentences in 2018 and 2015 for embezzlement and corruption respectively. They were disqualified from the 2019 election despite being pardoned by President Macky Sall.

Opposition parties have argued that Sall's government has used the justice department to target potential challengers to clear his path for a possible third term. The government has denied the accusation.

The commission said that on the contentious issue of Sall possibly running for a third term, the matter should be referred to the constitutional court for a ruling.

Sall has neither confirmed nor denied that he'll seek a third term, a contributing factor to uncertainty in Senegal where sporadic violent protests broke out in early June over opposition leader Ousmane Sonko's two year sentence by a court on a rape charge. Sonko denies the charge. He could be disqualified from the 2024 election.

Sall in May welcomed members of various parties, religious leaders and civil society to a multi-day national dialogue aimed at reducing political tensions. Proposals will be submitted to Sall, who is expected to address the nation by June 25.