And you thought American politics were a heated debate

I am not sure if what is going on here has been covered by the US media so I thought I should bring you all up to speed. Right now we are in the midst of election season and it’s a very unstable time. Why? Because current president, Abdoulaye Wade, is seeking reelection for his third (aka second) term. In 2000 Wade was elected president under the old constitution that said a president could serves 7 years in one term; however, it never said how many terms he/she could serve. While Wade was in power he changed the constitution to say that a president could only serve two 5 year terms. In 2007 Wade ran for reelection on won. Now in 2012 he is saying that his first year didn’t count because it was under the old constitution and that if he wins this year it would be his second term under the new constitution. Of course there are people who do not agree with his logic and have shown their disapproval by demonstrating. There are also other people who believe that Wade, at 85 years of age, is too old to finish his term should he win.
Last weekend the high court of Senegal ruled that Wade is eligible to run for his third term, this news brought about protests, some violent. In Dakar it is said that one person has already died due to the riots and in Kaolak, a region to the north of me, people burned half the market and the national radio station. Luckily no one was hurt because this happened in the middle of the night.
On February 26th we will have our first round of elections, should no one win by a majority we will have a run-off in the beginning of March.
I am sure that around election time we will have a lot of protests, most turning violent; however, do not worry about me, I live over 700km (over 430 miles) from Dakar so most of these protests won’t affect me. However, I still live in a regional capital so there is a chance for some unrest here but if anything happens it should be minimal here. Please do not worry, Peace Corps is taking every precaution necessary to ensure our safety. We have been briefed on what to expect at this time and we will be put on high alert during the elections. I feel very confident that nothing will happen in my region, I just wanted to bring you up to date as to what’s happening in case you’ve seen something in the news. I am alright here and I’ll keep everyone in the loop should something really happen!!


One Comment on “And you thought American politics were a heated debate”

  1. Swade says:

    Of course I haven’t seen or read anything about Senegal’s political unrest (shocker-imagine that). I am in agreement with those who think that it’s time for an 85 year old prez to retire and leave office. With the exception of constitutional changes, I’m sure at his age that he still lives in the past and doesn’t particularly care for change. I hope a fairly young candidate will run and bring some refreshing, new ideas to Senegal (and who will also correct the currency exchange system for other African francs/monies to easily be exchanged for those vacationing/visiting/moving there from elsewhere in Africa!). 🙂

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