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Senegal’s top judicial body rejects opposition leader’s candidacy for presidential election

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Senegal’s Constitutional Council on Friday rejected opposition leader Ousmane Sonko’s application to run for president in elections next month due to missing documents, one of his lawyers, Cire Cledor Ly, said.

The ruling deals a hard blow to Sonko’s presidential aspirations, already hampered by a flurry of court cases that have piled up against him since he was accused of rape in 2021. The case has spurred violent protests across the country.

Although he was cleared of the rape charge, Sonko has been found guilty of libel and an offense described in the penal code as immoral behaviour towards individuals younger than 21.

He was arrested in July for insurrection and struck off the electoral role, but still submitted his candidacy from prison after a court in the south of Senegal ruled in his favour.

According to Ly, the council rejected Sonko’s application because his file was not complete. He said the council did not provide further details but that Sonko’s team would lodge a complaint once they had more information on which documents were missing.

Sonko denies any wrongdoing and says all charges against him are politically motivated.

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