Senegalese President Macky Sall backed Amadou Ba to succeed him when he steps down after next year’s elections, an endorsement that places the prime minister in lead position to get the top job.
(Bloomberg) — Senegalese President Macky Sall backed Amadou Ba to succeed him when he steps down after next year’s elections, an endorsement that places the prime minister in lead position to get the top job.
Ba, 62, is the Benno Bokk Yakaar ruling coalition’s presidential candidate for elections set to be held in February, said Moustapha Niasse, a party leader who made the announcement Saturday on state television. He spoke on behalf of Sall, who appointed Ba as prime minister last year, reinstating a position that had been abolished three years earlier.
Known as a technocrat, Ba had previously served as finance minister and foreign affairs minister. Under a previous administration, he had also been tax chief.
Ba was picked for his competence and his knowledge of the country’s economic plan, Niasse said. He’s also seen as a unifying candidate for the different parties of the coalition. The prime minister accepted the coalition’s ticket in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Sunday.
Picking Ba among stronger loyalists “would be more from political necessity than a decision from the heart,” Maurice Soudieck Dione, who teaches political science at the Gaston Berger University in the Senegalese city of Saint-Louis, said before the announcement. “He may decide that he has the best chances of helping the coalition win.”
The Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition decided against holding primaries and instead asked Sall to select its nominee, underscoring the incumbent’s political sway even as he prepares to vacate office. The main opposition coalition, Yewwi Askan Wi, has been weakened by a series of lawsuits embroiling some of its top leaders.
Ousmane Sonko, who was considered the leading challenger from Yewwi Askan Wi, was disqualified from contesting the election and his party, Pastef, was dissolved following his arrest on charges of inciting violence. Sonko remains in custody in a hospital, where he is recovering from a 34-day hunger strike to protest his detention.
Still in the running for the presidency are Aminata Toure, a former prime minister, and Khalifa Sall, once a popular Dakar mayor who only just regained the right to run last month after a state pardon for a corruption conviction and a legal amendment that restored his eligibility. Karim Wade, a former minister, who is also the son of Sall’s predecessor, could benefit from the amendment if he decides to run for office.
Read more: Why Normally Stable Senegal Is Wracked by Unrest: QuickTake
The $31 billion economy has been wracked by political uncertainty even as it readies to become an oil and gas producer. Greater Tortue Ahmeyim, a $4.8 billion gas development by BP Plc and Kosmos Energy Ltd, is expected to start production in the first quarter of next year after facing delays.
Sall spent years prevaricating over whether to seek a controversial third-term bid — a prospect that sparked deadly protests. He eventually ruled out that option in a July national address, a decision that spurred a rally in the nation’s bonds. Ironically, Sall rode a wave of popular discontent to power in 2012 after then-President Abdoulaye Wade sought an unconstitutional third term.
(Adds Ba’s candidacy acceptance in fourth acceptance)
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