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Senegal Presidential Election: Rallies and riots continue

The voting on Sunday will likely be marked by triumphal rallies and violent riots.
Senegal presidential election rallies riotsEnlarge
Text written on the ground in chalk reads 'Down with the police' as riot policemen stand guard, blocking access to Independence Square during an opposition demonstration against Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade's controversial bid for a third term, on Feb. 23, 2012, in Dakar. (Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Six people have died in recent weeks of political protest and violence in Dakar, Senegal's usually laidback seaside capital.

On Sunday the voting takes place in which President Abdoulaye Wade — the focus of the protestor's anger — will face 13 challengers, and today is the final day of campaigning.

It will likely be marked by triumphal rallies and violent riots.

More from GlobalPost: Senegal: Dakar rocked by anti-Wade demonstrations

The unrest was triggered by Wade's decision to stand for a third term despite promising not to when he was first elected in 2000. It doesn't help that Wade is at least 85-years old and rules over a very youthful population many of whom have just reached voting age.

Nor does it help that many suspect he is grooming his son, Karim, to succeed him.

Third terms, monarchical succession: these are strategies taken straight from the dictator's playbook.

More from GlobalPost: Africa's "generation chasm" shows why leaders are out of touch

The world is watching and nervously calling for calm.

They'll probably get it, at least until the results start to trickle in. That will be the real litmus test: will the election be viewed as free and fair by international observers and, more importantly, by opposition activists? Or will the results be a trigger for further protests and an still stronger government crackdown?

If you want to learn more London's Royal Institute of International Affairs, or Chatham House, has an excellent paper analyzing the coming elections.

More from GlobalPost: For Senegal, it's always the economy stupid


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/africa/senegal-presidential-election-bring-more-rallies-and-riots

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