Senegalese President Macky Sall postponed the election amid political tension

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Senegal has long been considered one of West Africa's most stable democracies

Senegalese President Macky Sall has postponed this month's election after dozens of candidates withdrew.

The two-time president has reiterated that he will not run for re-election, and has not set a new date.

Amid the controversy, a Constituent Assembly barred many hopefuls — including some high-profile politicians — from contesting.

Mr Sall said, “These critical conditions could seriously affect the ballot.”

He added that he would launch an open national dialogue to create the conditions for free, transparent and inclusive elections in a peaceful and harmonious Senegal.

An opposition candidate called the President's decision to postpone the election a constitutional coup.

Khalifa Sall, the former mayor of the capital Dakar, has urged people to protest against the move, and his political alliance has vowed to go to court.

An influential body of Islamic clerics has warned against postponing the vote, saying it risks destabilizing the nation.

The move to delay elections in a country considered one of the most stable democracies in the West African region is unprecedented.

Twenty candidates made the final list, but the most prominent of those excluded from the original vote scheduled for February 25 was opposition politician Usman Sonko.

Famous person blocked due to defamation charges. Sonko, who is facing several court cases, said he was victimized by the campaign to prevent him from running for the presidency.

Karim Wade, the former president's son, is barred from participating because he holds French citizenship and is said to be of Senegalese nationality. He described the allegation as “slanderous,” AFP news agency reported.

Mr Wade's supporters in Parliament questioned the neutrality of the two judges on the panel which decided the final list of candidates.

Some politicians argued that the nomination rules were not applied fairly. Something the authorities have denied.

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