Members of the National Laity Council (CNL) in Senegal do not approve of the decision to postpone the general elections that were previously scheduled to take place on February 25.

In a statement issued Tuesday, February 6, CNL members weigh in on the February 3 announcement that President Macky Sall made, postponing the presidential elections, and citing “controversies over the disqualification of some candidates and allegations of corruption in election-related cases,” according to Africa News.

The Senegalese President, who did not indicate a new date for the poll has been quoted as saying, “For my part, my solemn commitment not to run in the presidential election remains unchanged, finally, I will engage in an open national dialogue to bring together the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election.”

In their statement, CNL members say they are in “total disagreement with this decision, the consequences of which could lead Senegal into an uncertain future.”

“This unprecedented decision, which runs counter to Senegal’s legendary democratic tradition, entails real risks of instability and is a matter of grave concern for our organization,” they further said.

They caution the political leadership of the West African nation against undemocratic processes, saying, “In keeping with its values of peace and fraternity, and in the best interests of the nation, the CNL calls on the President of the Republic and all political players to scrupulously respect the republican calendar.”

The CNL members challenge the stakeholders in the electoral process, including the leadership of political parties to “work for the peace and stability of Senegal by finding as soon as possible the solutions needed to organize a transparent, inclusive, peaceful and democratic election.”

“May the Lord watch over and protect Senegal,” CNL members implore in their February 6 statement.

Tension has been mounting in Senegal following the Constitutional Council’s decision to exclude several candidates from the election, including opposition figures Ousmane Sonko and Karim Wade.

In July 2023, President Sall announced that he would not be seeking re-election in the Presidential elections, explaining that “Senegal is more than me, and is full of capable leaders for the country’s development.”

On February 4, Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye of the country’s Dakar Archdiocese said he was “baffled by what’s going on” in Senegal, and described President Sall’s announcement to post the presidential polls as a “technique of circumvention”.

“When there is a rule, it’s so that it can be followed, not so that we can pass to the right or to the left,” Archbishop Ndiaye told journalists during the February 4 press conference

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu