Senegal’s minister of business and trade, who is also the government spokesman, Abdou Karim Fofana has defended President Macky Sall from accusations that he postponed the elections as a strategy to cling onto power.
Speaking to the BBC Newsday programme from the capital Dakar, Fofana presented the election postponement as a necessary and altruistic move, coming from a “moral obligation to stay and solve this problem”
because according to the constitution, “he [President Sall] is the guarantor of the good functioning of the institutions”.
“He could have said: ‘Listen, I’ve got two months left, I’ll give you the keys and let you sort out your problem’. But he’s taking on the responsibility of clearing up the trouble between the constitutional court and the parliament, and that’s what happens in all great democracies,” Mr Fofana told BBC Newsday.
When President Sall controversially called off this month’s election at short notice, he had cited a row over the eligibility of candidates.
That decision has been met with widespread international condemnation, including from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.
There are fears that the election could threaten one of the region’s most stable democracies. It has also sparked furious protests in which three people have died.
“When you are a leader you often have to take unpopular and sometimes misunderstood decisions. As for President Macky Sall, it is not a pleasure for him to do so… he’s not going to get his hands dirty just to stay on for another six or eight months,” Mr Fofana said on Monday.
Mr Fofana also defended Senegal’s democratic system, arguing that it is the parliament that runs the country, not the civil society.
Mr Sall previously said that he was ready to step down, but wanted to leave the country stable and peaceful.