Senegal’s octogenarian president, in power since 2000, has said he will seek a third term in the February 2012 presidential election, despite pressure from opposition leaders who accuse him of bending constitutional rules to run again.
Wade, 85, dismissed concerns he would be too old for a third term in an interview with the Friday edition of French business daily La Tribune, arguing that age was less an “obsession” in Africa than in Europe.
“My father lived to 105 and my grandmother to 120, so I’ve still got time in front of me,” he said. “As long as I’ve got my physical and mental health, I will not plan on leaving.”
However, he also said that he sometimes thought about his eventual succession, but that it was difficult to find someone with the “qualities of a statesman”.
Turning to the uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, Wade said he did not expect similar movements to take root in Senegal and that he was not concerned by protests last month against him seeking re-election.
“There will be neither a coup d’etat nor a revolution in Senegal,” Wade said, adding that he was not against the protests, which he said did not represent wider opinion in the country. Reuters