Senegal President Macky Sall will not run for reelection next year, he said in a speech on Monday, ending widespread speculation that he would seek a third term his critics said would have been illegal.
Rumours that Sall would try to extend his stay in power have fuelled bouts of unrest since 2021 in which dozens have been killed, shaking Senegal’s reputation for calm in a restive region.
Sall’s announcement will likely quell fears of a democratic backslide in Senegal. Some worried he would follow other regional leaders, including in Ivory Coast and Togo, who used changes to the constitution as an excuse to reset their mandate and extend their hold on power.
It will also trigger a search for a successor to lead the ruling party just months before the February polls. It is unclear who will run for many of the main parties.
Unrest last month was sparked by the sentencing of popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko to two years in jail on charges stemming from an alleged rape – accusations he denies and says were politically motivated to stop him from running in the elections.