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Senegal's parliament backs postponement of presidential election until December

Senegal’s National Assembly passed a bill late Monday postponing the country’s presidential election until Dec. 15 during a tense session where opposition lawmakers were forcibly removed from the chamber.

Lawmakers from President Macky Sall’s ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coalition and from an opposition coalition known as Wallu Senegal backed the election delay following a heated session characterized by chaotic scenes.

The bill was passed with 105 votes in favor and one against.

The vote came days after Sall on Saturday announced the indefinite suspension of the presidential election, citing a dispute over the candidate list and the alleged corruption of constitutional judges.

Chaotic scenes broke out after a group of opposition lawmakers tried to block a parliamentary vote when they rushed the central dais and refused to leave, effectively interrupting the plenary session for more than an hour.

As tempers flared, footage showed some lawmakers brawling after trading insults.

The Parliament Speaker withdrew from the chamber. In the end, the opposition lawmakers were forcibly removed from the chamber by security personnel before the session resumed.

Outside the National Assembly, dozens of gendarmes patrolled the area to prevent crowds that had wanted to protest against the postponement of the election.

President Sall's term officially ends on April 2. But after Monday’s vote, Sall, who announced in July that he would not seek a third term in office, will hold office until elections.

Senegal has been in political chaos since Sall announced the indefinite postponement of the presidential election.

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