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Official results in Senegal confirm a large victory for opponent Faye

Photo: John Wessels Agence France-Presse Bassirou Diomaye Faye, 44, is expected to become Senegal's fifth and youngest president.

Malick Rokhy Ba – Agence France-Presse in Dakar

March 27, 2024

  • Africa

The Senegalese opponent Bassirou Diomaye Faye largely won in the first round of the presidential election with 54.28% of the votes, far ahead of the ruling candidate Amadou Ba (35.79%), indicate provisional final results announced on Wednesday.

This accelerated proclamation seems to clear the way for an upcoming inauguration of Mr. Faye, in any case before the end of the mandate of the outgoing Macky Sall on April 2.

The victory of the anti-system opponent, still in prison ten days before Sunday's election, must now be validated by the Constitutional Council. Candidates theoretically have 72 hours after the proclamation to petition the Council.

But the Council also pressed the movement by giving them until Thursday midnight “at the latest”.

The Council invokes in a press release “the exceptional circumstances” having led to “the compression of all deadlines”. He refers to the postponement of the presidential election, initially scheduled for February 25 and finally set for March 24.

The postponement decreed at the last minute by President Sall caused a serious crisis and sowed doubt about the possibility of his successor being sworn in before the official expiration of his mandate.

This timely transfer, highly significant in a country which prides itself on its democratic practices, now appears realistic, provided that the results do not give rise to challenge before the Constitutional Council.< /p>

In the absence of dispute, “the Council immediately proclaims the final results of the vote”, says the Constitution.

But in the event of an objection, the Council has, theoretically, five days to rule.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday congratulated Mr. Faye and “the Senegalese people, who have demonstrated that the right to vote – and the fact that that vote is taken into account – remains the threshold of freedom in democracy.”

Mr. Faye's victory was already understood after partial results were unofficially released. The figures announced to the Dakar court by the president of the National Voting Census Commission, Amady Diouf, confirm the extent of this.

If it is validated, it will be the first time since the independence of Senegal in 1960 that an opponent will win in the first round.

The third of the 19 candidates, Aliou Mamadou Dia, only received 2.8% of the vote, confirming the extreme bipolarization of the vote.

Turnout was 61.30%. This is less than in 2019, when outgoing President Macky Sall obtained a second term, also in the first round, but more than in 2012.

Reassuring speech

Mr. Faye, 44, never before held for national elected office, is expected to become the fifth and youngest president of the West African country of 18 million people. His opponents recognized his victory.

His election was preceded by three years of tension and unrest. Senegal, known as one of the most stable countries in West Africa, experienced a new crisis in February when President Sall decreed the postponement of the election. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested since 2021, and Senegal's democratic credentials have been scrutinized in a different light.

Mr. Faye himself was detained for months before his release in the middle of the election campaign in mid-March.

After weeks of confusion, the Senegalese went to the polls on Sunday. International observers praised the smooth running of the operations.

The African Union observation mission welcomed in a press release “the democratic maturity of the Senegalese people [and] the overall peaceful climate of the presidential election”.

Mr. Faye presents himself as the man of “rupture”, of the reestablishment of a national “sovereignty” sold off according to him abroad, and of a “left-wing Pan-Africanism”. His election could herald a profound systemic challenge.

He is committed “to governing with humility, with transparency, to fighting corruption” at all levels, he declared Monday in his first public appearance since the election.

He listed “national reconciliation”, the “refoundation” of institutions and “significant reduction in the cost of living” as his “priority projects”.

But he also worked to reassure foreign partners who closely followed the election. Senegal “will remain the friendly country and the safe and reliable ally of any partner who engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation,” he maintained.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116