Senegal ruling sparks riots
Published 29/01/2012 | 05:00
Senegal's highest court has approved a bid by President Abdoulaye Wade to stand in a February 26 election, paving the way for him to extend his 12-year rule of the West African country into a third term and sparking riots in the capital, Dakar.
Mr Wade's candidacy for next month's election was approved by Senegal's Constitutional Court late on Friday, Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye, spokesman for the president, said. Rioting in Dakar after the court's decision led to the death of a policeman, according to local police.
Mr Wade, 85, has fuelled criticism in the former French colony with his bid to stay in power. He has argued that because Senegal's constitution was changed in 2008, his time as leader before then shouldn't be considered as his first of two permissible terms.
The Constitutional Court is headed by Cheikh Tidiane Diakhate, who is a supporter of Mr Wade, according to James Clinton Francis, a sub-Saharan Africa researcher with the Eurasia Group in Washington.
"Wade will most likely get the plurality of votes in the first round of elections, possibly enough to win outright," Mr Francis said.
The Constitutional Court's approval may lead to widespread unrest in Dakar and other cities according to Mr Francis.