By The Associated Press

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal’s president has effectively fired the mayor of the capital, Dakar, after an appeals court upheld his five-year prison sentence for forgery, criminal conspiracy, embezzlement and fraud.

President Macky Sall on Friday revoked the mandate of Khalifa Sall, a popular opposition figure who had announced he would run for president in next year’s elections. The two are not related.

Senegal’s president Macky Sall, welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, at the Presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Mamadou Diop)

Supporters of the mayor have accused the president of trying to remove any major opponents ahead of the vote in this West African nation.

The government says the prison sentence has stripped the mayor of the “moral authority” needed for the post.

Khalifa Sall was arrested last year on suspicion of embezzling 1.8 billion CFA francs ($3.4 million). Sall, in office since 2009, has denied the allegations, calling them politically motivated.