Senegalese President Macky Sall on Monday ruled out seeking re-election in 2024, ending months of speculation that he would run for a third term.
His announcement in a televised address came after a group of mayors signed a petition on Saturday urging Sall to seek reelection in the polls set for February.
“My decision is not to be a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, even though the Constitution gives me the right to do so,” he said in a televised speech.
Speculation about Sall’s intentions had fueled protests over the past year after the opposition said running for a third term would be unconstitutional.
On Sunday, opposition leader Ousmane Sonko called on his supporters to take to the streets if the president announced his intention to seek a third term in office.
Sonko was sentenced last month to two years in prison for “corrupting youth.”
Thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets in several cities and at least 16 were killed.
Opposition leader denies all the charges, and his supporters say the charges and the trial was a political hit job to disqualify him from entering the presidential race.
Sall, 61, assumed power in 2012 and won reelection in 2019.
His supporters had argued that he remains legally eligible to contest elections again under a new Constitution revised in 2016.