• World - Africa
  • Updated: March 25, 2024

Senegal: Opposition candidate, Faye takes early lead in presidential polls

Senegal: Opposition candidate, Faye takes early lead in pres

Although Bassirou Diomaye Faye, the primary opponent of the ruling coalition, stated a run-off vote would be required to declare the winner, early results from Senegal's presidential election sent his supporters into celebration on the streets.

As the election results came in on Sunday, at least five of the 19 contenders in the contest congratulated Faye in remarks they released.

However, Amadou Ba, the candidate of the ruling coalition and a former prime minister, stated that the celebrations were too soon.

"For our part, and considering the feedback of the results from our team of experts, we are certain that, in the worst case scenario, we will go to a run-off," Ba's campaign said in a statement.

Enormous numbers of voters engaged in a nonviolent voting day to select Senegal's fifth president, following three years of unparalleled political unrest that led to violent anti-government demonstrations and increased backing for the opposition.

In one of the most stable democracies in coup-prone West Africa, there is a chance that the administration of departing President Macky Sall, which has pushed policies beneficial to investors but not helped alleviate economic misery, may fall.

Nineteen candidates campaigned for the post of Sall, who is resigning following a second term dogged by controversy with the trial of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and suspicions that the president intended to exceed the constitutional limit on his powers.

This was the first occasion in Senegal's history that the incumbent was not on the ballot. Ba, 62, was chosen as the nominee of his ruling coalition.

There were around 7.3 million voters in the roughly 18 million-person nation. Around 71% of voters turned out, according to RTS, the state broadcaster.

Election day went off without a hitch, with no significant events recorded.

Widespread street celebrations in Dakar's capital occurred after the first round of tallies, which were displayed on television, revealed that Faye had won the majority of the vote.

In Sonko's area, jubilant fans gathered as they let off vuvuzelas, waved Senegalese flags, and let off fireworks.

Later, at least five rival contenders proclaimed Faye the victor, essentially admitting defeat. Among them was Anta Babacar Ngom, a leading candidate who expressed his wishes for Faye's success as Senegalese leader in a statement.

The number of voting places out of the 15,633 that have been counted thus far is unknown.

By Tuesday, the final tentative results should be known. Only in the event that no candidate obtains the more than 50% majority needed to avoid a runoff will there be a second round of voting. 

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