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U.S. hopes for peaceful Senegal elections

Feb. 23, 2012 at 4:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Officials in the U.S. government are calling for calm as Senegal's presidential election approaches.

The West African nation, generally seen as an example of democracy in the region, goes to the polls to elect a president Sunday.

Regular demonstrations have occurred encouraging the ouster of 85-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade, who is seeking his third term. Opposition leaders, including candidate and former Prime Minster Idrissa Seck, have been accused of encouraging unrest.

The White House Office of the Press Secretary released a statement Thursday calling on "Senegalese authorities to uphold internationally-recognized electoral standards to ensure these elections reflect the will of the Senegalese people."

A similar position was explained by Wednesday a State Department deputy secretary who asked that President Wade's security forces "show restraint and honor the Senegalese people's freedoms of peaceful assembly and peaceful expression."

The U.S. has allocated funds to train 1,000 independent election observers through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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