Senegal to introduce expatriate Members of Parliament

Senegalese people who reside outside the country will be eligible to run for office in their home country for the first time in July’s elections, after MPs voted to increase the number of seats in parliament.

An allocation of 15 seats will be reserved for members of the country’s diaspora, bringing the total of members of parliament to165.

There are hundreds of thousands of Senegalese expatriates working abroad who send remittances back home.

But the new MPs will have to return to Senegal to serve their five-year terms.

The opposition has described the move as a waste of money.

“This measure is absurd,” Amar Sarr, an MP from the main opposition Democratic Part of Senegal (PDS) told the media.

This will be a first for expatriates from French-speaking West Africa.

The opposition has vowed to appeal the bill at the Constitutional Court.