Basserou Diomaye Faye, a close confidant of Sonko, is about to become Senegal's youngest president

Basserou Diomaye Faye, a close confidant of Sonko, is about to become Senegal's youngest president

Amadou Ba, the government candidate, conceded defeat in Senegal's presidential election on Monday to Basserou Diomaye Faye, an anti-regime opposition figure. The 44-year-old disciple of the opponent, Ousmane Sonko, who was still in prison ten days ago, thus becomes Senegal's youngest president.

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He wanted to be a “regime change candidate” in Senegal. At 44 years old, Basserou Diomaye Faye is on track to win the presidential election after government candidate Amadou Ba conceded defeat on Monday, March 25.

The partial results published in the media and social networks place Passero Diomai Faye in a clear lead over his main competitor, and with a very large difference from the others.

Although he has never held elected office, in November 2023 he was appointed as a candidate to replace Ousmane Sonko, the second of whom was the leader of the African Patriotic Party of Senegal for Action, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTIF) of which he replaced a few. Months ago by the authorities.

Bassero Diomai Faye has been imprisoned since April 2023 on charges of contempt of court, defamation and acts likely to prejudice public peace, yet he missed much of the official campaign that opened on 9 March. He was even banned from recording his campaign messages for public television.

But he was finally released on March 15, nine days before the first round of the presidential elections, after the amnesty law wanted by President Macky Sall was passed.

Inseparable from Ousmane Sonko

“Dumai moi osman” (“Dumai is osman”). These were the words of Wolof supporters during the presidential election campaign. For them, Bassero Diomai Faye and rival Ousmane Sonko are inseparable. He also said about his deputy, Ousman Sonko, third in the 2019 presidential elections and ineligible to run in the 2024 elections after three years of confrontation with power: “Bassero, that is me.”

Basserou Diomaye Fay comes from a humble farming family and took the entrance exam to the ENNA (National School of Administration) in Senegal. After becoming a tax inspector, he met Ousmane Sonko in the tax and tax office. Diomai followed him to the Independent Union of Tax and Land Agents which he established. He then joined the Pastev Party, of which he was a guest at first before becoming a major figure and Secretary-General, according to the party, which describes him as having a “brilliant mind” and “cold in analysis.” Feeling that Ousmane Sonko had been excluded from the presidential elections, their camp made him a champion of it.

“They are two sides of the same coin with different styles,” describes Mustafa Sarr, coach of Pastif activists.

Ousmane Sonko (49 years old) was the undisputed candidate for the Pastif party, which he helped found in 2014, as young people said they were strangers to politics. His exclusion from the Constitutional Council in January brought out from his shadow his second-in-command, the more reticent Bassero Diomai Faye.

New generation

Often dressed in a traditional white dress, mid-rise, and sporting a goatee under his youthful face, Basserou Diomaye Faye appeared on stage during his latest election rally in the company of his two wives, the first for a Senegalese president.

In the face of excessive presidentialism, this committed Muslim presents himself as the embodiment of a new generation of politicians. He highlights his African values, his desire to preserve his country's sovereignty, distribute wealth more fairly, and reform the justice system that he considers corrupt. To underscore his “transparency”, he published his asset announcement on the last day of the campaign.

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He also promised to renegotiate oil and fishing contracts, and says he is not afraid to leave the CFA franc, including going so far as to create a new national currency, a measure that his opponent Amadou Bah denounced as economic “nonsense.”

His opponents accuse him of being at the head of the “adventurers” who are ready to pursue a policy of dangerous rupture in a country known for its stability in West Africa.

Passero Diomai Fai presents himself as someone who is “particularly sensible, especially sensible, especially sensible, and especially thoughtful.”

After Sunday's vote, he called for “a definitive return to calm” in Senegal, which has been “seriously disrupted” in recent years.

With AFP and Reuters

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