Joy as Senegal’s opposition candidate Diomaye Faye takes an early lead in presidential election


Supporters of Senegalese presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye celebrate early results showing that Faye is leading initial presidential election tallies, in Dakar, Senegal, March 24, 2024 [Zohra Bensemra/Reuters]
Supporters of Senegal’s presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye have taken to the streets of the capital, Dakar, in celebration as early results from Sunday’s vote showed the opposition contender in the lead.

The celebrations came as at least five of the 17 candidates in the race issued statements congratulating Faye on what they called his victory.

But his main rival from the ruling coalition, former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, said the celebrations were premature.

“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.

There was no immediate comment from Faye.

Millions in Senegal took place in Sunday’s vote to elect the country’s fifth president. It followed three years of unprecedented political turbulence that sparked violent antigovernment protests and buoyed support for the opposition.

At stake is the potential end of an administration led by outgoing President Macky Sall, who is stepping down after a second term marred by unrest over the prosecution of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and concerns that the president wanted to extend his mandate past the constitutional limit.

The incumbent was not on the ballot for the first time in Senegal’s history. His ruling coalition picked 62-year-old Ba as its candidate.

Derek Kanalo
the authorDerek Kanalo
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