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Senegal police clash with protesters

 
 
 
 
 
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Senegalese demonstrators protest against the decision to allow President Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term in Dakar on January 27, 2012.

Senegalese police have clashed with demonstrators protesting against a constitutional court ruling that allows President Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term in the upcoming presidential election.

On Friday, police in Dakar used batons and tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters throwing stones at them to show their discontent with the ruling.

The demonstration was held in the streets of the working class district of Colobane.

The five-judge court issued a statement late on Friday, listing 14 eligible candidates for the presidential election, which is scheduled to be held on February 26.

The list includes Wade, three ex-prime ministers, Idrissa Seck, Macky Sall, and Moustapha Niasse, and main opposition leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng.

However, famous singer Youssou N’Dour was excluded from the list.

According to the constitutional court, N’Dour had not introduced the minimum 10,000 signatures of voters supporting his candidacy. The court said N’Dour had produced a list of 12,936 voters, but only 8,911 could be identified and their signatures validated.

A number of Senegalese media outlets often criticize the incumbent president for excessive spending, while the country experiences “poverty and inequality.”

However, the 86-year-old president has also been credited with building roads, an airport, and other key elements of infrastructure.

Wade was first elected president in 2000 and was reelected in 2007 to a five-year term after a constitutional reform shortened the presidential term by two years. The constitution was changed again in 2008 to allow for two seven-year terms from 2012.

Wade says he can “even legally stand again in 2019,” according to state media.

The opposition says the decision to allow Wade to run for a third term is “illegal.”

The June 23 Movement (M23), a coalition of Senegalese activists and political groups, has called for “active resistance” against the approval of Wade’s candidacy.

Wade’s ruling party, the Senegalese Democratic Party, announced that he would run for a third term in the February presidential election on December 23, 2011.

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