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Senegal Names Minister for Elections After Opposition Protest

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July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade named Cheikh Gueye as the minister in charge of February’s presidential election after the opposition said the interior minister was too political to undertake the task.

Gueye is the inspector general of state and the former director general of elections, Cire Ly, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said by phone from the capital, Dakar, today.

Senegal’s opposition coalition, Bennoo Siggil Senegal, had called for Wade to remove Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom from his post saying that as a member of Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party he should not organize the elections. Cheikh Gueye is not a member of the party.

On June 23, violent protests broke out across the capital when Wade proposed amending the constitution to reduce the winning threshold for elections to 25 percent from 50 percent. Parliament also considered creating a vice presidential post, the holder of which would automatically assume the post of President in the event of his death.

Critics suspect Wade, 85, proposed the changes to ensure his son, Karim Wade, a future role as president. Wade dropped the proposed changes in the wake of the riots, which were the most violent since he took power in 2000.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rose Skelton in Dakar via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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