Senegalese president Macky Sall has replied to the growing chorus in Senegal that he has subverted democracy and has become a dictator.
In his first interview since announcing the delay of presidential elections earlier this month, Sall brushed off the accusations that the postponement was unconstitutional.
He said Senegal needed time to resolve controversies over the disqualification of some candidates and a conflict between the legislative and judicial branches of government.
“I am not a dictator. I am absolutely seeking for nothing except to leave a country in peace and stability. I am completely ready to pass the baton. I have always been programmed for that,” he stated.
Sall spoke to the AP inside the presidential palace in Dakar, while outside, hundreds of protestors took to the streets, burning tyres, throwing stones and blocking traffic as security forces used tear gas to disperse them. At least one student was killed on a school campus following demonstrations in the country’s northern city of Saint Louis.
“I don’t want to leave behind a country that will immediately plunge into major difficulties. I am saying now that I am going to work for appeasement, for conditions that will allow the country to be peaceful … let’s all hold inclusive discussions before we go to elections,” he said.
Earlier this week, more than a dozen opposition candidates filed an appeal with the supreme court to overturn the decree.
The Constitutional Council is expected to rule within approximately a week as to whether it agrees with the parliament’s conclusion. However, when pressed, Sall wouldn’t say whether he would accept the court’s decision if it rejected the delay.
“It is too early for me to consider this prospect … When the decision is made, I will be able to say what I will do,” he said.