Senegal’s president appoints former economy minister as prime minister

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DAKAR, September 17 (Reuters) – Senegalese President Macky Sall returned to the post of prime minister on Saturday, appointing a former economy minister to the post two months after tense legislative elections in which Sall’s ruling coalition lost its comfortable majority.

Amadou Ba, a 61-year-old tax expert who also served as foreign minister, has been named prime minister of the West African country, according to a statement from the presidency.

Ba’s appointment restores the post of prime minister to the West African country after it was abolished in April 2019.

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“Big priorities the president has set include improving household purchasing power, controlling inflation, security, housing, job training, employment and entrepreneurship,” Ba said. on national television after meeting Sall on Saturday.

The full government is expected to be named later Saturday.

Earlier this week, Senegalese security forces were called in to secure a voting process in parliament and restrain rowdy opposition parliamentarians who tried to disrupt the election of a new speaker of the National Assembly. The assembly met for the first time since the July elections.

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Sall came to power in 2012 after overthrowing longtime President Abdoulaye Wade. He was re-elected 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 was marred by economic hardship – resulting in part from the COVID-19 pandemic and the global fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Political tensions boiled over over Sall’s refusal to publicly rule out a bid for a third presidential term 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 charges of rape, which he denied.

Sonko was freed, but many protesters saw his arrest as an attempt by Sall to eliminate a top rival and fight his way to a third term.

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Reporting by Diadie Ba and Ngouda Dione, Additional reporting by Cooper Inveen Writing by Bate Felix Editing by Louise Heavens and Helen Popper

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