Home Consulate Senegalese Winnipeggers are voting for a vital election in their homeland

Senegalese Winnipeggers are voting for a vital election in their homeland

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Members of the Senegalese community in Winnipeg used a local ballot box on Sunday to raise their voices in what is being called a crucial legislative election in their home country, thousands of miles away.

“It’s very important because it will define government policy based on what the people want, exactly,” Daour Wade said in an interview at the Senegalese consulate on Egerton Way in St. Boniface. The consulate served as a polling station for postal votes.

Senegal is one of the only French-speaking countries in the world that allows citizens to vote outside the country’s borders, consulate officials said.

“I’m so proud to be Senegalese and to be part of this community,” Wade said.

He was one of 171 Winnipeg Senegalese eligible to vote, Consul General Ibrahima Diallo told CBC. Manitoba is seeing more and more Senegalese moving here for work, Diallo said.

Allowing citizens to have a say in the politics of the country even if they are not there is very important, he added.

Legislative elections in Senegal are seen as a vital test for opposition parties trying to minimize the influence of the ruling party ahead of the 2024 presidential election, when current President Macky Sall could run for a third term.

About 7 million voters are eligible to elect 165 deputies to the National Assembly in a politically tense climate in the West African country.

Violent protests erupted last year after Sall’s main opponent, Ousmane Sonko, was arrested on charges of rape, and more than a dozen people were killed. Sonko, who came third in the 2019 election, denies the allegations and his supporters have voiced their opposition to the president.

This year he and another of Sall’s main opponents were disqualified as candidates, sparking more widespread anger and protests in which three people died in June.

Senegal, with a population of 17 million, is known for its stability in a region that has seen coups in three countries since 2020 and where leaders have changed laws to stay in power for a third term. .

Sunday’s election will give a clearer indication of what could happen in 2024.

Diallo said the results are expected on Monday.