Senagal Election: Jubilation as 44-Year-Old Opposition Leader, Faye Leads Presidential Race

Senagal Election: Jubilation as 44-Year-Old Opposition Leader, Faye Leads Presidential Race

  • Supporters of Senegal’s presidential hopeful Bassirou Diomaye Faye flooded Dakar’s streets with jubilation as initial election results pointed towards his lead
  • Amidst this, five of the other candidates extended their congratulations to Faye, hailing his apparent triumph
  • However, Amadou Ba, Faye’s primary opponent from the ruling coalition, cautioned against premature celebrations

Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

Dakar, Senegal - Bassirou Diomaye Faye, the opposition leader, is now leading the race to become Senegal's next president, with many of his competitors conceding defeat.

After unrest and opposition demonstrations against the current president, Macky Sall, millions of Senegalese participated in a calm election on Sunday, March 24. There were 19 candidates for voters to choose from.

The first round of results were released on Sunday, March 24
Reports confirmed that the Senegalese presidential poll witnessed a 71 per cent voter turnout. Photo Credit: Carmen Abd Ali
Source: Getty Images

At 44 years old, Mr. Faye, a member of the Pastef party led by Ousmane Sonko, found himself incarcerated just days before the election.

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Sonko, himself, was ineligible to run due to a defamation conviction.

As reported by BBC, initial vote counts on television indicated that Mr Faye had garnered the most votes, prompting jubilant street festivities in Dakar, the capital.

Supporters celebrated with fireworks, Senegalese flags, and the blaring of vuvuzelas.

The outcome prompted five opposing candidates to acknowledge Mr Faye as the victor.

Anta Babacar Ngom, a prominent contender, conveyed her best wishes to Mr. Faye in a statement.

Mr Sonko supported Mr Faye, his former colleague from the now-disbanded Pastef party, despite his detention nearly a year ago on various charges, including defamation and contempt of court.

A recently enacted amnesty law facilitated their release shortly before the election.

They campaigned jointly under the slogan "Diomaye is Sonko", gaining support from influential politicians and opposition figures.

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Faye said:

"The population is choosing between continuation and rupture."

Ruling party predicts run-off polls

Meanwhile, Aljazeera reported that former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, a ruling coalition candidate, said the celebrations were premature.

He said:

“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.”

The conclusive preliminary outcomes are anticipated to be announced by Tuesday.

A runoff election will be held only if no candidate manages to secure the necessary over 50 per cent majority, as mandated to avoid a second round of voting.

Roughly 7.3 million individuals were eligible to cast their votes in the nation, which has a population of around 18 million, with a turnout rate of approximately 71 per cent.

Postponement of Senegalese election by President Sall illegal, breeding coup

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In another report, ex-Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Nigeria's APC, Timi Frank, condemned Senegal's President, Macky Sall, for postponing the presidential election scheduled for February 25.

Sall's move to indefinitely delay the election was approved by Senegal's National Assembly, which set a new date of December 15.

Frank criticized Sall's actions, citing them as a breach of Senegal's constitution, which Sall had pledged to uphold.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Segun Adeyemi avatar

Segun Adeyemi (Current Affairs and Politics Editor) Segun Adeyemi is a journalist with over 9 years of experience as an active field reporter, editor, and editorial manager. He has had stints with Daily Trust newspaper, Daily Nigerian, and News Digest. He currently works as an editor for Legit.ng's current affairs and politics desk. He holds a degree in Mass Communication (Adekunle Ajasin University). He is a certified digital reporter by Reuters, AFP and the co-convener of the annual campus journalism awards. Email: segun.adeyemi@corp.legit.ng.