31.1.12

quotes from an interview with the BBC on the Senegalese Constitutional Crisis


"I think [the protests] could fizzle out; a lot of it depends upon how the opposition leaders react.  Clearly, there's a division within the opposition with respect to how to approach the whole idea of protests.  The opposition candidates that are well organized recognize that Wade is vulnerable in the election, which is taking place on February 26.  So they've got 4 weeks to go head-to-head and make sure that they pass through to the 2nd round, which will then take place on March 18.  So those opposition candidates that are confident of their performance in the upcoming election - remember, the campaign officially starts on February 5, so there's not a lot of time to lose; every day that's spent on street protests is a day that's not spent focused on the campaign and the issues, trying to paint a difference between themselves and Wade, and between one another."

"On the other hand, there are opposition candidates less well organized that are probably - not to be cynical about it, but - somewhat pleased to see a bit of turmoil, hoping that the election might be prolonged, and that might give them more time to get themselves organized."

"The international community has not come out and condemned - by any stretch of the imagination - what the Court has done.  They may have voiced some disapproval, they may have done a little bit of wringing of the hands, but they've basically said, 'This is the process, it's not our business and we're not going to intervene at this point.  You've got to go to elections.'  So those that are prepared to go to elections and know what they need to do in order to win, or at least try to win, are content to move forward and do that."

"Of course, they'll still be giving some lip service because there is a lot of anger on the street, but this is a county that has a track record of successful elections since 1960; it's not like what we're seeing in the Arab countries that don't really have a culture of free, democratic elections.  So the protests can only accomplish so much.  It's unlikely that we can imagine a situation in which Wade would just step down because he sees some people out on the street.  It's not reached anywhere near that level of involvement yet on behalf of the people."

"[Boycotting the election] would be the absolutely most foolish thing that [the opposition] could do.  I think what the opposition needs to do - each candidate individually, really - is continue to keep the pressure on the international stage.  It would be wise for an opposition candidate who wanted to show himself at the front of the pack to pursue the critique of the so-called 'constitutional coup d'état' at the international level, while still focusing on the real prize, which is making sure that they perform well in the February 26 election and that they move into the 2nd round, which takes place on March 18.  So if they really want to beat Wade - assuming that Wade will have enough juice to get him through to the 2nd round - those opposition candidates need to figure out who's going to be in the #2 slot and who will have to go up against Wade face-to-face on March 18."

No comments: