World Bulletin / News Desk
Representatives from Senegal's diaspora will be granted almost 10 percent of seats in parliament, lawmakers said Tuesday, underlining the key role that migrants play in the west African nation's economy.
More than half a million Senegalese live outside their homeland, sending back more than $1.64 billion a year in remittances to their families, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM) figures.
Moustapha Diakhate, an MP with the country's ruling coalition of parties, told AFP the parliament had passed a bill Monday increasing the number of lawmakers by 15 to 165 (9.1 percent of seats), who would be elected to serve the interests of the diaspora.
"It will allow the diaspora to elect lawmakers drawn from their ranks," Diakhate said. "It's a step forward for democracy."
Eight new electoral regions would be created to represent the diaspora, as part of an electoral reform bill put together by the interior ministry following a referendum in March.
Opposition MPs voted against the law or abstained, saying it sent out the wrong message about Senegal's priorities.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Ocak 2017, 20:39