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US Urges Peaceful Senegal Election

February 23, 2012

VOA News

The United States is calling on authorities in Senegal to make sure Sunday's presidential election is "fair, transparent, and peaceful."

The press secretary for U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement Thursday urging electoral officials to make sure the vote reflects "the will of the Senegalese people."

The statement called on Senegalese voters to cast their ballots peacefully and for all parties, including security forces, to refrain from violence.

Protesters have clashed with police several times in Dakar this month while trying to hold marches against President Abdoulaye Wade's bid for a third term.

The 85-year-old president is running despite a two-term limit in the constitution. Senegal's Constitutional Court ruled the measure does not apply to Wade because he was elected before it took effect.

The president is facing 13 opposition candidates, many of whom are supporting the protest movement known as M23.

Local media reports say pre-election violence has killed at least 10 people. The violence has raised fears that Senegal could be sliding toward unrest after years of stability and democracy.

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