West News Wire: Two months after a contentious legislative election in which Sall’s ruling coalition lost its comfortable majority, Senegalese President Macky Sall reestablished the position of prime minister and appointed a former minister of the economy to the position.
Amadou Ba, a 61-year-old tax expert who has also held the position of foreign minister, has been appointed as the nation’s prime minister, the presidency announced on Saturday.
Following its removal in April 2019, Ba’s nomination restores the prime ministerial role in the nation of West Africa.
Sall stated that it will be up to the incoming prime minister to deal with the rising cost of living in a speech to the country that was aired on Friday.
“Measures to reduce the cost of living and support employment and entrepreneurship for young people, the fight against floods and costly rents will remain the highest of priorities for me,” Sall said.
Ba echoed these sentiments during his first speech after the president’s secretary-general read out the decree.
“The major priorities that the president has outlined include improving household purchasing power, taming inflation, security, housing, vocational training, employment and entrepreneurship,” Ba said on national television after a meeting with Sall on Saturday.
The full government is expected to be appointed later on Saturday.
Earlier this week, Senegal’s security forces were called to secure a voting process in parliament and hold back opposition members of parliament who tried to disrupt the election of a new president of the national assembly. The assembly was convening for the first time since July’s election.
Sall came to power in 2012 after unseating longtime President Abdoulaye Wade. He was elected again in 2019 on promises of large-scale infrastructure expansion as the country is set to start producing oil and natural gas next year.
But much of his second term has been marked by economic hardship partly stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and global fallout linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Political tensions have boiled over Sall’s refusal to publicly rule out a third-term presidential bid in 2024.
Violent protests erupted in Senegal last year when Ousmane Sonko, Sall’s main opponent who came third in the 2019 presidential election, was arrested on rape charges which he denied.
Sonko was released but many protesters saw his arrest as an attempt by Sall to remove a prominent rival and clear his path for a third term bid.