(Bloomberg) -- Senegal holds municipal elections on Sunday that will serve as a gauge of support for President Macky Sall and his ruling coalition.
The Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition, which comprises Sall’s Alliance for the Republic, the Socialist Party and the Alliance of Forces for Progress, currently holds most of the 552 municipal seats and 125 of the 160 seats in parliament. One of its key goals will be to regain control of Dakar, the capital, which the opposition has run since 2009, and it is fielding Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr as its mayoral candidate.
While the fractured opposition faces an uphill battle to challenge the BBY coalition’s dominance, disgruntlement about the economic hardship wrought by the coronavirus and perceptions of corruption in Sall’s administration are widespread.
The anti-government sentiment was evident last year when the arrest of popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on rape allegations triggered violent protests. Sonko, who came third in presidential elections in 2019 and has denied the allegations, is running for mayor of Ziguinchor, the biggest city in southern Senegal.
Read more: Why Protests Have Engulfed Normally Peaceful Senegal: QuickTake
Speculation has been rife that Sall may consider running for a controversial third term, and he declined in a Dec. 9 interview with France 24 to say if he considers himself eligible to extend his tenure when his current mandate expires in 2024. Sall has been in office since 2012 and secured 58% of the votes cast when he was reelected in 2019.
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