Koldan opposition solidifies around DAP

Today, the Democratic Action Party, the largest opposition party in Kolda announced a joint ticket with the the Regional People’s Alliance, a center-aligned party located primarily in Kendougou-Saboresse and other eastern regions of Kolda. Their unified candidate Jissel Baoul, a DAP Senator and activist. This comes after the imprisoned Eduoard Wade, leader of the DAP was declared ineligible to vote and, therefore ineligible to run for President.

Wade who had been the DAP’s leading candidate in 2019 was arrested shortly after the election for his participation in nationwide protests of the KLF’s victory and alleged voter fraud. Wade managed to only serve a 6-month sentence due to a lack of evidence for organized civil disruption. In 2021, Wade was arrested again, this time for the illegal distribution of films without government permission. Wade has financed films including Harvest Moon, an IDU Film Festival Nominee via his Rivière Verte company. This year, Wade applied for a release from voter eligibility due to his sentence ending in August, although was denied. Replacing him is Jissel Baoul, a labor rights activist from the Riveres Region. Baoul has constantly challenged the government on specific cases of worker malpractice and is considered one of the most progressive voices in the traditional center-aligned DAP. Baoul is joined by Thiero Natib, from the Regional People’s Alliance, Natib is a member of the Kendouga minority group, which the KLF-U has traditionally oppressed. If elected, Natib would be the first Kenouga vice president in Koldan history.

Recent polling had put the DAP-RPA ticket at 30% still behind Etienne Senghor and the Koldan Liberation Front at 43%, although an increase from the 25% result in the 2019 Election. DAP’s members are hopeful for political success due to increased international election observation as well as small reforms to registration and the promised opening of hundreds of new polling stations. However, major hurdles such as 15% of the vote typically going to Brissiacan political parties mean gaining a political majority is unlikely.

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