Thursday, May 30, 2024

    Opposition Politician Faye Wins Election in Senegal

    Opposition Politician Faye Wins Election in Senegal Until a few months ago, the opposition politician Faye was virtually unknown in Senegal. However, he has now surprisingly won the presidential election by a clear margin. Government candidate Ba has already conceded defeat.

    In Senegal, the opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye has been elected president with a surprisingly significant majority. Government candidate and former Prime Minister Amadou Ba congratulated Faye on his victory even before the official provisional results of the election on Sunday were announced.

    Just a few hours earlier, Ba’s campaign team had stated that they were certain “that a runoff would occur in the worst-case scenario.” They even accused Faye’s camp of “manipulation.” Now, there has been a turnaround. Ba wished his opponent Faye success in a statement.

    Campaigning with a Broom

    Faye’s entrance into the presidential palace marks a significant political shift for Senegal. During the campaign, Faye positioned himself as a “candidate for system change” and campaigned with a broom to clean the country of corruption and poor governance. He also promised to more fairly distribute the revenues from the country’s rich natural resources.

    Senegal is considered a stable democracy

    For the first time in the history of the West African country, a new president has been elected in the first round of voting. The counts shortly after the closure of the polling stations on Sunday evening indicated a clear lead for the 44-year-old Faye. To win the presidential election in the first round, an absolute majority of votes had to be achieved.

    The election for the successor to President Macky Sall, who has been in power since 2012, was seen as pivotal for the country with its approximately 18 million inhabitants. Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and has not experienced any coup or military takeover since gaining independence from France in 1960, unlike other countries in the region.

    Sall is praised for his successes in the economic development of the country, where oil and gas extraction is set to begin this year. However, human rights activists criticize the restrictions on political freedoms during his tenure.

    Faye Released from Detention

    Faye ran for the opposition leader Ousmane Sonko’s faction and his dissolved party, African Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics, and Brotherhood (Pastef). Sonko, who is revered by young Senegalese as a critic of the elite and a fighter against corruption, was unable to run himself due to a conviction in a defamation case.

    Faye, who was previously unknown until a few months ago, was Sonko’s close associate and former Secretary-General of the party. He was nominated as Plan B. The tax official was released from prison, where he had been held since last April on charges of defamation and insulting a judge after criticizing the judiciary in a Facebook post about Sonko’s trial, just ten days before the election under an amnesty law.

    Deaths in Protests

    There was a weeks-long political crisis before the election. Although President Sall had initially refrained from running for a controversial third term under political pressure, he unexpectedly postponed the presidential election scheduled for February 25 to February 3 due to discrepancies surrounding the candidates’ eligibility.

    After protests that resulted in four deaths and weeks of tug-of-war among the institutions, the election finally took place about a month late. Over 7.3 million voters were registered. The official results are expected later this week.

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