Senegal’s opposition candidate Faye takes early lead in presidential poll

Preliminary results shows Bassirou Diomaye Faye leading with 56.7% of vote, followed by his main rival Amadou Ba of ruling coalition, who receives 31%

Early results from Senegal’s presidential election on Sunday showed that opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye is ahead of other candidates.

Preliminary results from the electoral body released on Sunday night showed Bassirou Diomaye Faye leading with 56.7% of the vote, followed by his main rival former Prime Minister Amadou Ba of the ruling coalition, who received 31%.

Faye’s supporters began to celebrate his victory on Sunday evening after receiving congratulations from many of his competitors.

However, Amadou Ba, chosen by outgoing President Sall, has promised to provide his analysis of the results on Monday afternoon.

“I respect both the law and the republic. Our teams are working on the results, and I will return tomorrow (Monday) at noon at the latest to assess the preliminary results from the ballot box,” Ba told reporters at the ruling party’s headquarters in the capital, Dakar.

“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,” he added.

The first official results must be published no later than March 29.

‘High turnout’

The presidential election saw a high turnout in different regions of the country, according to Abdoulaye Sylla, the president of the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA).

“We have toured the departments of Dakar. What we noticed at first glance is that the turnout is very high, at 42% at the polling stations we visited. We are delighted with this strong turnout,” he told reporters.

There were 19 candidates, including the only female candidate, Anta Babacar Ngom, but two dropped out to back Faye.

President Sall, whose term ends on April 2, cast his vote in the western town of Fatick.

Speaking after voting, he stressed that only the country’s Constitutional Council is empowered to announce the final results of the election.

“No candidate or (political) camp should proclaim victory before the official results,” he said.

Noting that the electoral campaign took place in conditions of calm and serenity, Sall commended the Senegalese people for “their political maturity and sense of duty.”

Sall also said that voting was smooth throughout the country.

‘Dispute over candidate list’

Some 7.3 million Senegalese were eligible to vote in the tight presidential election.

More than 2,000 observers, including more than 800 international monitors, were accredited for the presidential election, according to the electoral body.

On Feb. 3, President Sall, who has been in power since 2012, postponed the presidential election originally scheduled on Feb. 25, citing a dispute over the candidate list and alleged corruption of constitutional judges, triggering political chaos in which three people were killed.

The National Assembly then passed a bill postponing the vote until Dec. 15 as security forces stormed the building and removed some opposition lawmakers.

But the Senegalese Constitutional Council declared the law postponing the country’s presidential vote to December “unconstitutional” and annulled his decree to delay the poll.

Sall announced the new poll date after the Constitutional Council ruled that it would be unconstitutional to hold the presidential election after April 2, the date marking the end of the current term of the president.


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