Voters choose new Senegal president after political crisis

Voters choose new Senegal president after political crisis
Voters choose new Senegal president after political crisis

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Voters choose new Senegal president after political crisis in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - DAKAR — People in Senegal are voting for a new president in a delayed election after weeks of political unrest.

Long queues of voters have been witnessed across the country choosing from 17 presidential candidates.

After he voted, outgoing President Macky Sall warned candidates against making premature claims of victory.

The election had been due to take place last month but Sall postponed it, triggering deadly opposition protests and a democratic crisis.

Seven million people are eligible to vote in the West African nation, which had until then been praised as a bastion of democracy in the region.

Among those in the running for Senegal's top job is the governing BBY coalition's candidate, former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, 62. After casting his ballot in the capital, Dakar, he said he was "very confident" of a first-round election victory.

His main challenger Bassirou Diomaye Faye expressed similar confidence after voting, along with his two wives, in his hometown of Ndiaganiao, which is about 100km (62 miles) from Dakar.

The 44-year-old was released from jail just 10 days ago, after being detained since April 2023 on charges of insurrection, which he said were politically motivated.

His ally, opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, was also freed from prison following an amnesty intended to calm tensions. He voted in his southern stronghold of Ziguinchor, saying they expected a "dazzling victory".

Popular with young people, he is not allowed to stand because of a series of charges he says are trumped-up. He and his now-disbanded Pastef party are backing Faye.

A 25-year-old voter in Ndiaganiao, who only gave her first name Mbissine, told the BBC: "This election is the election of the youth. If I had one advice for other young people, it would be to come and vote. That's the only way we can help ourselves."

At the same polling station, 84-year-old Diégane Gueye, who walked with the assistance of a cane, said: "I came to vote because today is an important day for our nation. There is a lot at stake and that's why we should care."

On Friday, former President Abdoulaye Wade and his PDS party threw their support behind Faye, after his own son Karim Wade was forced to withdraw over his dual French-Senegalese citizenship.

For the first time in over a decade, a female candidate is in the race. Anta Babacar Ngom, 40, leads the ARC party.

Results are expected within days and a second round is likely, because of the large number of contestants. A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to be declared the winner.

The eyes of the world will be watching to see if the election process goes some way to restoring Senegal's now-bruised reputation.

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, President Sall said that he had "no apology to make" for postponing the election, which was originally due to be held on Feb. 25.

"I have done nothing wrong," he said, adding that the decision to delay the vote was not taken unilaterally, but was because of electoral concerns raised by members of parliament.

"All the actions that have been taken have been within the framework of the law and regulations." — BBC

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