Senegal’s Opposition Leader Chooses Bassirou Diomaye Faye As Replacement In Presidential Race

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Senegal’s opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko has officially confirmed the selection of Bassirou Diomaye Faye as his replacement for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for February 25.

Sonko made the announcement through a prerecorded video shared on his Facebook page and opposition-affiliated media outlets on January 28, 2024.

This development marks Sonko’s first public appearance since his arrest on July 28 of the previous year.

The 44-minute video, recorded while Sonko was under house arrest in July, showcases the opposition leader in traditional attire, passionately detailing his strategic considerations.

A significant aspect of Sonko’s message is the formal endorsement of Bassirou Diomaye Faye as his chosen successor.

Describing Faye as his “little brother” and emphasizing his honesty and brilliance, Sonko entrusts the presidential project into Faye’s capable hands.

The decision to name Faye as the substitute candidate comes amidst uncertainties regarding Sonko’s own ability to participate actively in the election.

One of the critical questions arising from this announcement is whether Bassirou Diomaye Faye, currently in provisional detention since April on charges including incitement to insurrection, will be granted release to engage in election campaigning.

Legal experts are divided on this matter, with some arguing that the serious charges might hinder provisional release, while others cite constitutional provisions guaranteeing equality among candidates for campaign activities.

Ousmane Sonko, in the video, also advocates for the release of Bassirou Diomaye Faye, invoking the principle of equal opportunities for candidates.

The outcome of this request remains uncertain, as no formal application for provisional release has been submitted at this time.

Meanwhile, Ousmane Sonko calls on other presidential candidates affiliated with his party, such as Habib Sy and Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, to maintain their candidacy, contributing to increased airtime for the former Pastef candidate.