President backs away from constitutional change
President Abdoulaye Wade has backed away from constitutional change following widespread riots in Senegal yesterday.
The president has wanted to change the constitution to allow for a new post of Vice President. Many felt that this was being created to allow Wade’s son Karim to come in as the new leader in due course.
But as MPs were debating the law in parliament protesters were attempting to gain access to the parliament. The ruling Coalition for Change, which supports the president, has 131 of the 150 seats in the National Assembly, so the vote should have been easy. After further discussions and as the protests grew, the head of the majority coalition, Doudou Wade, indicated that the MPs were unhappy with the legislation and soon after the president indicated that the constitutional amendment should be withdrawn.
The events of yesterday are a further indication of the way in which the people are increasingly using protests to get their way against politicians. More than 100 people were injured in the protests.