Senegal court disqualifies main opposition leader Ousmane Sonko’s presidential candidacy

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Senegal court disqualifies main opposition leader Ousmane Sonko's presidential candidacy
Ousmane Sonko's

Dakar, 's Constitutional Council dealt a significant blow to opposition leader Ousmane Sonko's presidential ambitions by rejecting his candidacy application for the upcoming elections.

This decision, according to one of Sonko's lawyers, Cire Cledor Ly, was due to missing documents in his application.

The rejection adds another layer of complexity to Sonko's political journey, which has been marred by legal troubles since he faced accusations of rape in 2021.

Although cleared of the rape charge, Sonko has been convicted of libel and an offence described as immoral behaviour towards individuals younger than 21.

Arrested in July for insurrection, Sonko was struck off the electoral role.

However, he submitted his candidacy from prison after a southern Senegal court ruled in his favour.

Mr Ly, the lawyer, mentioned that the Constitutional Council rejected Sonko's application due to an incomplete file, without specifying which documents were missing.

The legal saga surrounding Sonko has led to bouts of violent protests, challenging Senegal's reputation as one of 's most stable democracies.

The presidential election will determine the successor to President Macky Sall, who is serving his second term.

Sonko consistently denies any wrongdoing, asserting that the charges against him are politically motivated. The government, in turn, accuses him of instigating violence and dissolved his Pastef party in July.

A former tax collector known for his populist rhetoric, Sonko gained significant support in Senegal's 2019 presidential election, finishing third and becoming a prominent voice for youth discontent.

Popular among urban youth frustrated by economic challenges and job scarcity, Sonko's political journey faces new obstacles with the recent rejection of his presidential candidacy.

As the deadline for the final list of cleared candidates approaches on January 20, applications for the presidential election are currently under review.

President Macky Sall has named Prime Minister Amadou Ba as the ruling coalition candidate.

Meanwhile, amidst Sonko's legal challenges, one of his close allies, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, has applied to run as an independent candidate.

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