Presidential elections in Senegal: Four candidates congratulate Diomaye Faye on his victory, awaiting official results

Presidential elections in Senegal: Four candidates congratulate Diomaye Faye on his victory, awaiting official results

It seems that a political earthquake is brewing in Senegal. As the country counts presidential votes at the end of the first round of elections that are supposed to decide between continuity and perhaps radical change after three years of turmoil and political crisis, four candidates have already congratulated anti-regime Diomai Fai. Sunday evening for his victory, even before the official announcement.

In fact, the results published office after office in the media and on social networks gave a huge advantage to candidate Basseiro Diomaye Faye, supported by Ousmane Sonko, ahead of the power candidate, Amadou Bah, far ahead of 15 other contenders at around 9 p.m., after Three hours after the end of voting.

Radio and television stations read the full results for each of the 16,000 polling stations in the country and abroad throughout the evening without compiling them. Diomai Fai seemed to be taking off almost everywhere, even if the official results had not been announced. As a reminder, an absolute majority of votes must be obtained to win in the first round, and no date has been set for the second round.

“in the palace”

Hundreds of Basserou Diomai Faye's supporters were singing and dancing on Sunday evening to the tune of a drum machine at his campaign headquarters in Dakar. Convoys of young people on motorcycles roamed the streets of the capital, honking their horns, chanting, “To the presidential palace.” The atmosphere was even gloomier among dozens of Amadou Ba sympathizers at his headquarters.

The victory on the birthday of Bassero Diomaye Faye (who turned 44 as of Monday), the “regime change candidate,” the “left-winger of Pan-Africanism,” and the right-hand man of his rival, Ousmane Sonko, could announce a real systemic challenge. . Amadou Ba (62 years old) will extend the term of outgoing Macky Sall, who was prime minister a few weeks ago and whom he appointed as his successor.

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Both declared that they were “confident” of winning the first round. Outgoing President Macky Sall, who voted with his wife in Vatic (central west of the country), warned against premature claims of victory. What is certain is that Amadou Bah was beaten at his polling station by Diomai Faye, which does not bode well for him.

No notable accidents

About 7.3 million voters were asked to choose between 17 competitors, including one woman. They lined up by the dozens or hundreds during the day in front of different offices, without providing any accurate assessment of participation (66% in 2019).

No notable incidents were reported, and many voters expressed their satisfaction with voting, following the unrest caused by the postponement of the elections.

Weeks of confusion

Senegalese were initially scheduled to cast their votes on February 25, as ballot boxes and ballot papers were still listed on Sunday. But at the beginning of the month, outgoing President Macky Sall, who is not running for a third term, surprised the country by announcing the postponement of the vote.

The decision sparked a serious political crisis in the country, which had already been witnessing episodes of unrest since 2021 and the confrontation between Ousmane Sonko and the authorities. Four people died during the demonstrations.

Several weeks of confusion tested Senegal's democratic practice, until the March 24 date was set. The campaign was reduced to two weeks, as it fell in the middle of the Muslim fasting month.

The elections are being closely followed, as Senegal, which is considered one of the most stable countries in West Africa, has been shaken by the coup. Dakar maintains strong relations with the West, while Russia strengthens its surrounding positions.

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