Africa

Senegal expats to be allowed to run for parliament

  • 3 January 2017
  • From the section Africa
An inside overview of the National Assembly of Senegal Image copyright AFP
Image caption Under the new move, the number of MPs will increase from 150 to 165

Senegalese people living abroad will be able to run for office in their home country for the first time in July's elections, after MPs voted to increase the number of seats in parliament.

The national assembly will add 15 seats for members of the country's diaspora, bringing the total to 165.

There are hundreds of thousands of Senegalese expatriates who support families back home with remittances.

The new MPs will have to return to Senegal to serve their five-year terms.

The opposition has criticised the move, describing it as a waste of money.

"This measure is absurd," Amar Sarr, an MP from the main opposition Democractic Part of Senegal (PDS) told the BBC.

Across French-speaking West Africa, expatriates are often given a say on national politics through the foreign ministry, but rarely through direct parliamentary representation.

Opposition MPs unsuccessfully argued for keeping the size of the National Assembly at its current level of 150 MPs.

They have said they will appeal the bill at the Constitutional Court.

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