President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed his hope that this weekend?s presidential election in Senegal is peacefully and credibly staged after a campaign marred by several deadly incidents.

Senegalese voters are scheduled to go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president to serve for the next seven years, with 14 candidates reportedly in the running.

Widespread public protests have been held around the country, with demonstrators reportedly angry that incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade has decided to seek a third consecutive term in office.

Several people have been killed and earlier this month the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced concern about the possible excessive use of force by Senegalese authorities in response to the protests.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he hoped the election process would be ?peaceful, credible and transparent? in line with Senegal?s long-standing democratic tradition and the aspirations of its people.?

The Secretary-General said he deplored the recent deadly incidents and underlined the need for the right to peaceful and orderly assembly to be respected.

?He calls on political actors to refrain from using or inciting violence during the electoral period and appeals once again for all electoral disputes to be resolved through legal and peaceful means,? the statement added.

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