Ousmane Sonko’s eligibility could be conclusively determined this Thursday as the Supreme Court is set to review the appeal filed by his lawyers after he was sentenced to six months of suspended prison for defamation against the current Minister of Tourism, Mame Mbaye Niang. In the event of a definitive conviction, the opposition figure, recently reinstated on the electoral lists, risks losing his civic rights.
Presently, Ousmane Sonko theoretically retains the ability to run in the presidential election scheduled for February 25. Despite a June conviction to two years of imprisonment for corrupting youth, he still holds his civic rights. Last month, the Dakar Magistrates’ Court ordered his reinstatement on the electoral lists. Sonko has subsequently submitted his candidacy to the Constitutional Council, which is set to review his application this week.
However, Thursday’s hearing could potentially alter the course of events. It pertains to a separate case in which Sonko was convicted in May of six months of suspended imprisonment and a fine of 200 million CFA francs for defamation against Minister Mame Mbaye Niang. Sonko had accused Niang of embezzlement in connection with the Prodac agricultural development project.
Should his conviction be upheld, Ousmane Sonko would be definitively stripped of his civic rights, disqualifying him from the electoral race. Notably, his camp has another potential candidate: Bassirou Diomaye Faye, Sonko’s right-hand man and co-founder of the former party Pastef. Faye has also submitted his candidacy to the Constitutional Council. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday holds significant implications for the political landscape in Senegal, with potential ramifications for the upcoming presidential election.