Senegal’s Parliament Elects New Speaker Over Bid to Block Vote

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(Bloomberg) -- Lawmakers in Senegal chose a new speaker of parliament in a chaotic vote after opposition members attempted to stop the vote from taking place.

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Police had to intervene to restore order as Amadou Mame Diop, the candidate for President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition, was elected with 83 out of 84 votes. Eighty-one out of 165 lawmakers abstained from voting.

Public broadcaster Radio Television Senegalaise showed images of shattered tables and plastic bottles on the floor of the National Assembly after the vote, which was delayed for several hours as opposition lawmakers called foul play.

The vote took place as parliament gathered for the first session since a legislative ballot in July that saw Sall’s Benno Bokk Yakaar deprived of the absolute majority it had held until then with one single seat.

Read more: Senegal’s Ruling Coalition Loses Its Parliamentary Majority

The July 31 poll was largely seen as a test for Sall 18 months ahead of presidential elections set for 2024. Sall, who was elected in 2012 for seven years and re-elected in 2019 for five years, has been vague about his future plans. He has promised to appoint a prime minister from the winning party in the July polls, a position he abolished in 2019 and reinstated in December 2021.

Diop, deputy mayor of Richard Toll, a town in northern Senegal, and managing director of the Societe Amenagement de la Petite Cote, charged with developing and promoting tourism along Senegal’s coast, succeeds Moustapha Niasse as speaker.

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