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Senegal's New President Names Political Ally Sonko As Premier

03.04.2024 11:27

Former popular opposition figure tasked with forming new government.

Senegal's new President Bassirou Diomaye Faye has appointed his political ally Ousmane Sonko as the country's prime minister, the president's office announced early Wednesday.

The appointment came hours after Faye was sworn into office following last month's presidential election.

Sonko "thanked the president for the trust placed in him" and promised he would unveil his Cabinet on Wednesday.

He said he will work hard for the implementation of their social program titled, For a Just, Sovereign and Prosperous Senegal.

Sonko, 49, was barred from the presidential race because last year a Dakar appeals court convicted him for defaming Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang and handed a six-month suspended sentence, which renders him ineligible for five years.

Faye was named as the opposition presidential candidate after Sonko was barred from contesting.

They both belong to the Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity party, which was dissolved by the outgoing government last year.

Sonko had a standoff with the previous government for nearly two years. He was detained at the end of July 2023 in Dakar on charges including calling for insurrection and conspiracy against the state, charges he dismissed as politically motivated.

His arrest led to several riots in the West African country between 2021 and 2023.

Sonko along with Faye were released from prison 10 days ahead of the presidential poll held on March 24, following the promulgation of the law relating to general amnesty introduced by former President Macky Sall.

Faye had been in jail following a post on his Facebook account criticizing the Senegalese justice system in connection with Sonko's case. Upon being released, the two moved together on the campaign trail.

In his first post-election speech, Faye made a special mention of Sonko, whose backing he owes much of his victory. -

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