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Macky announces amnesty, wants elections by July

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Senegal’s embattled President Macky Sall on last evening announced a general amnesty for political protests since 2021 during talks to set a new date for presidential polls he deferred this month.

Sall has faced public outcry and growing calls to set an election date after he abruptly delayed the February 25 vote, triggering one of Senegal’s worst crises in decades.

Ensuing protests have left at least four people dead.

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“In a spirit of national reconciliation, I will put before the National Assembly this Wednesday in the council of ministers a bill for a general amnesty for acts relating to political demonstrations that took place between 2021 and 2024,” Sall said.

“This will make it possible to pacify the political arena and further strengthen our national cohesion,” he added.

Several hundred opposition members, or over a 1,000 according to some rights groups, have been arrested in Senegal since 2021 amid the power struggle between opposition firebrand Ousmane Sonko and the state.

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Sall on Monday also said he wanted to organise the presidential election by July, even though a widespread movement is calling for a vote before April 2, when his term in office expires.

“My desire and my dearest wish is to hold the presidential election as soon as possible, and to do so before the coming winter (rainy season), and in peace,” he said.

He reiterated his commitment to stepping down when his term officially expires on April 2.

“In convening this dialogue, I have only one concern – to find a consensus on the date of the next presidential election so that the ballot can take place under the best possible conditions,” Sall said.

AFP

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