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Africa

President's son says he will join new government

Latest update : 2009-05-01

Karim Wade (photo), the son of Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, has announced he will join a new government led by Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye. Wade has frequently been tipped for the presidential succession in the west African country.

AFP - Karim Wade, the son of Senegal's veteran President Abdoulaye Wade, announced Friday that he would join a new government led by Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye.

"The prime minister has offered me the opportunity to be a part of the government, which I accept with great pleasure," Wade told the APS news agency after talk with the prime minister.

"It's an honour to serve one's country."

Wade, 40, has since 2001 played an influential role as a close advisor to his octogenarian father, and has frequently been tipped for the presidential succession in the west African country.

"Karim is the son of the president, but above all he is a Senegalese," Ndiaye said after Friday's meeting. "He's a businessman who gave up a job in London (as a banker) to come and work at the side of the head of state."

President Wade, reelected for five years in 2007 and now 82, has frequently denied the rumours his son is being prepared to succeed him, insisting that Karim is a "simple citizen" like anybody else.

In 2006, Karim Wade set up a political movement, the Concrete Generation, and last month he stood in an election for the first time on the list of the governing coalition headed by the outgoing mayor of the capital, Pape Diop.

The opposition swept the board in and around Dakar, but Wade still won a seat as a local councillor.

Senegal's press has made much of sour political relations between Wade and the new prime minister, but Ndiaye on Friday told journalists that the ties went back a long way.

"It's normal that there are political differences," he said, but stressed that he had "no problems with him (Karim Wade)."

Date created : 2009-05-01