Tuesday 26 March 2024

Opposition Candidate 44-yr-old Bassirou Faye Wins Senegal Presidential Election

Anti-establishment candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye was on Monday set to become the youngest president in Senegal's history after his rival conceded the race, triggering a political earthquake in the West African nation.

It marks a stunning victory for the 44-year-old, who was only freed from prison 10 days before Sunday's election, whose results are not yet official.

It is the first time in 12 presidential votes held under universal suffrage since Senegal gained independence from France in 1960 that an opposition candidate has won in the first round of voting.

His main opponent from the governing coalition, Amadou Ba, 62, recognized Faye's win and rang him to offer his congratulations.

Outgoing president Macky Sall, who did not stand after wins in 2012 and 2019, also congratulated him, hailing "a victory for Senegalese democracy."

Faye has promised left-wing pan-Africanism and to renegotiate gas and oil contracts, with Senegal due to start production on recently discovered oil and gas reserves later this year.

The opposition candidate has never held a nationally elected position and has not yet spoken publicly since the vote, which followed three years of unrest and a political crisis.

The United States echoed Sall in hailing a triumph of democracy in Senegal.

"The commitment of the Senegalese people to the democratic process is part of the foundation of our deep friendship and strong bilateral ties," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

"People are hungry for change when you see what is happening in this country in terms of corruption, non-respect of the law," El Hadji Mamadou Mbaye, a political science lecturer and researcher at the University of Saint-Louis, told AFP.

Source: AFP

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