West Africa’s regional bloc, ECOWAS, has called for the presidential election in Senegal to be held as scheduled instead of being postponed by 10 months. President Macky Sall postponed the vote due to an electoral dispute between parliament and the judiciary regarding some candidacies.
Opposition leaders and candidates rejected the decision, calling it a “coup.” The election was rescheduled for December, prompting outrage and condemnation. The West Africa bloc has struggled to contain a surge in coups in the region and has encouraged the political class to restore the electoral calendar in accordance with Senegal’s Constitution.
The United Nations human rights office expressed concern about the situation in Senegal and called for broad-based consultations. U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the postponement puts Senegal on a dangerous path towards dictatorship.
The crisis comes as the West African bloc is struggling to retain its members, with three coup-hit nations withdrawing last week. The bloc must limit its interference in member nations’ politics or expand its supervisory role.