Senegal: Former Pastef Party Seeking a New Campaign Strategy

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A campaign in Senegal began on Saturday, March 9. It was unprecedented in both its length (less than two weeks) and its structure: the leading candidate, Pastef’s dissolved party’s nominee Bassirou Diomaye Faye, is still detained pending trial and is unable to campaign or even record spots for the state television channel. Pastef is therefore making an effort to develop a campaign plan despite these limitations.

The candidate of the dissolved Pastef party can rely on the support of two other candidates in the presidential race in Senegal. Firstly, Habib Sy, a former minister and former chief of staff to Abdoulaye Wade, has been sponsored and therefore nominated as a candidate by Pastef’s parliamentarians.

Although Habib Sy maintains his candidacy, since Saturday, he has been attending various rallies and caravans in support of candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye, advocating for the same project.


The other ally is Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, former campaign manager for opposition figure Ousmane Sonko in 2019 and leader of the political movement Avenir-Senegaal bi ñu bëgg. He too is maintaining his candidacy but asserts that he is campaigning for the Pastef program and to increase visibility for Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who is currently deprived – for the time being – of the opportunity to record campaign clips on public television.

“It’s a strategy to unite, like in a large political coalition,” explains Mustapha Guirassy, former Pastef’s campaign director. However, there may be some confusion for voters: “How can there be three candidates around one program?” worries a member of the former Pastef.

The former Pastef is also mobilizing on the legal front. They promise to petition the National Electoral Commission today, and possibly the Supreme Court, to overturn the decision to deny Bassirou Diomaye Faye airtime on public television and to allow him to designate a representative to speak on his behalf while he is behind bars.


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