Senegal's president denies dynastic ambitions

23rd October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade on Saturday rejected suggestions of a "drift towards monarchy" after he appointed his son Karim energy minister earlier this month.

Opposition parties have accused him of grooming Karim Wade to "inherit" the presidency.

But the president, speaking on the sidelines of the 13th summit of francophone nations in Switzerland, insisted his son had been appointed on merit and was proving himself at the head of the "toughest" ministry.

"He is a financier, a banker, he has succeeded very well at the tasks I have entrusted him with because of his skills...," he said.

In July, Wade responded to criticism by saying he had no intention of "putting my son in my place before I go", although he stressed that his son was a free citizen and entitled to stand for election if he wished.

Wade, 86, has been in office since 2000. He was first elected for seven years, and re-elected in 2007 for a five-year term after the constitution was changed. He announced in September last year he would seek another term in 2012.

The ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) maintains that Wade has only served one term based on the constitutional change to a five-year mandate.

The opposition socialists, who ruled Senegal from 1960 to 2000, however dispute that calculation, saying Wade has already served two terms as president.

© 2010 AFP

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