Agitations over delayed presidential elections in Senegal have sparked protests with riot police firing tear gas to break up crowds on Monday.
Protesters had gathered outside Senegal’s parliament to protest against President Macky Sall’s decision to abruptly postpone the election.
The postponed election was planned for February 25, but President Sall said over the weekend that he had cancelled the poll due to electoral issues he feared would fuel disputes.
President Sall’s decision follows the constitutional council’s January decision to exclude some prominent contenders from the electoral list, which has triggered discontent about the election process.
“These troubled conditions could seriously undermine the credibility of the ballot by sowing the seeds of pre- and post-electoral disputes,” Sall said in his address.
Lawmakers on Monday started debating a bill that would reschedule the Fe b. 25 vote to Aug. 25 and extend President Macky Sall’s mandate until his successor is installed.
Mobile internet access was restricted from Sunday night with the government citing hate messages on social media and threats to public order. Several schools sent pupils home early as well.
The African Union and ECOWAS have all called for a new election date to be set as soon as possible.
Sall is not running for president again. He said the postponement would not affect his decision not to run for a third term.
His mandate ends on April 2. The president of parliament would be in charge if elections have still not been held after this.