African News

Senegal: State Media for Aspirants

14 February 2007 at 02:04 | 525 views

By Our Correspondent

According to the APA news agency in Dakar,political campaigning is in full swing in Senegal with the various candidates for the presidency using state media equitably unlike what obtains in many African countries where such media are the property of the incumbent.

The National Council for the Regulation of the Audiovisual (CNRA), recently drew lots for 15 presidential candidates, and chose El Hadj Alioune Mbaye, also known as ĎPetit Mbaye’, to begin the campaign process by appearing first on state television (RTS) for the presidential election to be held on 25 February 2007.

President Abdoulaye Wade, who is seeking re-election, then followed to speak to the Senegalese people for five minutes.

Then the order of succession of candidates was reversed : the candidate who came first the previous day became the last to speak the following day. His follower on the first list of the day kicked off the second day of the campaign for five minutes.

During this two-week campaign, the recordings made by the state radio and television (RTS) field reporters for the various contenders are being broadcast every day between 19:00 and 19:55 and between 20:35 and 21:00.

Some five million voters, according to the Interior ministry and the Electoral Commission have registered to vote in 12,000 polling stations scattered all over the 34 districts of the country.

The military and paramilitary will for the first time in Senegal’s political history, cast their ballots on 17 and 18 February, but the ballot boxes will remain sealed until 25 February, the date when the civilian and military votes will be counted at the same place.

The National Autonomous Electoral Commission (CENA) will mobilise between 25,000 and 30,000 people for the supervision of the operation, including two controllers per polling station and a supervisor for every voting centre.

The CENA is comprised of 12 members at the national level, representatives at the district level (CEDA) and external delegations (DECENA) for Senegalese voters overseas.

Photo: President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.