Presidential election in Senegal: the camp of opponent Ousmane Sonko thinks it will win


Birame Souleye Diop, the vice-president of PASTEF and the head of the PASTEF group at the National Assembly, in Dakar in January 2024. © RFI

Despite the rejection of the candidacy of opponent Ousmane Sonko by the Constitutional Council, his PASTEF party, which is officially dissolved, says it is sure of victory, even with a replacement candidate... who is today behind bars. This January 28, in an undated video, Ousmane Sonko, who is in prison, designated his number 2, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, as his replacement in the presidential election on February 25. Certainly, Bassirou Diomaye Faye is also in prison. But he saw his candidacy validated by the Constitutional Council. And on RFI and France 24, Birame Souleye Diop, who is the vice-president of PASTEF and the head of the PASTEF group in the National Assembly, affirms today that the candidate -prisoner Bassirou Diomaye Faye is “completely calibrated to meet the expectations of voters, because he has worked rigorously on the political program that we carry”. How to campaign behind bars? Birame Souleye Diop recalls that there is a famous precedent. In August 2018, in Brazil, prisoner Lula da Silva ran in the October presidential election. Certainly, his candidacy was not validated at the time. But four years later, Lula, who had been released in the meantime, was elected. Isn't Ousmane Sonko's camp at risk of being crushed by the electoral machine which supports Prime Minister Amadou Ba, the heir apparent? President Macky Sall? “Not at all,” replies Birame Souleye Diop, “because Amadou Ba, he does not pass in the street for people to say “Amadou Ba”, he passes in the street to hear “Ousmane Sonko”, he has never done politically, he is not concerned about the cost of living and the voting intentions in our favor are around 71%. Doesn't the absence of reactions in the street after the rejection of Ousmane Sonko's candidacy reflect a running out of steam in his camp? Absolutely not, replies the vice-president of PASTEF, because his movement “adapts its strategy to the circumstances”. After the street strategy came that of the ballot box.

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