Ex-prisoner Faye tipped for Senegal presidency


Bassirou Diomaye Faye

from AMADOU NDIAYE in Dakar, Senegal
Senegal Bureau
DAKAR, (CAJ News) – OPPOSITION candidate, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, has taken an early lead as vote counting progressed after watershed elections held in Senegal over the weekend.

Early results indicate he would secure the position as the fifth president of the West African country.

This would represent an astounding turnaround from political prisoner days before the controversy-laden poll to head of state.

On Monday, unofficial results put Faye (44) on 55,64 percent ahead of 34,18 percent accumulated by his main rival, Amadou Ba (63), the Prime Minister in the immediate past administration of the outgoing President Macky Sall.

While an outright majority is forecast for Faye of the opposition African Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (PASTEF), Ba and the ruling Alliance for the Republic have not ruled out a runoff.

If none of the candidates secures an outright victory, a runoff would be held on Sunday.

However, prominent figures in Senegal and outside have been congratulating Faye and the people of Senegal for their conduct in the election whose preparations had been marred by uncertainty amid accusations Sall was bent on clinging to power.

Dozens were killed during clashes featuring security forces and opposition activists.

Cheikh Bamba Dieye, the former minister, mayor and ex-Member of Parliament, stated, “He (Faye) will undoubtedly be the new president of the Republic of Senegal.

He believes Faye’s election would be the beginning of a new era of justice, democracy and full development for the nation.

Faye, who is a lawyer and tax inspector, was only released ten days before the elections, almost a year after he was arrested for “spreading false news, contempt of court, and defamation of a constituted body.

This followed a social media post denouncing the perceived injustice within the judicial system amid alleged repression against government critics.

Fellow opposition politicians tipped Faye.

“Senegalese democracy has triumphed,” said legislator, Sokhna Ba, of the Party for Unity and Rally.

Senegal’s elections were closely watched, particularly in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc which has in recent years experienced some coups.

Obi Ezekwesili, former Nigeria minister and ex-Vice President of the World Bank in Africa, believes Senegal’s election offered lessons for the continent.

“It is the people and not their politicians that own democracy, politics, government and governance,” she said.

“The People of Senegal have shown the rest of our continent the way. We thank them,” Ezekwesili added.

Over 7 million people registered to vote in the election featuring 17 candidates. Local and international observers endorsed the conduct.

Previously, they were originally scheduled for February 25 but were postponed indefinitely by a decree of Sall on February 3.

On February 15, the Senegalese Constitutional Council overturned the postponement.

Elections were held on the back of socioeconomic problems, including unemployment and rising cost of living.

Prospects are bright though with the country of 18 million people to begin production of gas and oil this year. The International Monetary Fund projects the economy to grow by 8,8 percent in 2024.

– CAJ News

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