Wednesday, February 29, 2012

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Senegal: Run-off


29 February 2012 Last updated at 18:43 ET
Senegal presidential poll results confirm run-off
Senegal is to hold a second round of presidential elections after incumbent Abdoulaye Wade failed to win outright, election officials have confirmed.
Mr Wade gained 34.8% of the vote in Sunday's first round.
He faces a run-off next month against his former prime minister, Macky Sall, who came second with 26.5%.
Mr Sall urged the opposition to rally behind him against Mr Wade, who has been in power since 2000 and is seeking a controversial third term.
"I'm sure the desire for change of the Senegalese people will give me the victory in the second round," Mr Sall said at a press conference after the results were announced.
Mr Sall promised that if elected, he would shorten the presidential term to five years from the current seven, and enforce a two-term limit.
He also promised to bring in measures to reduce the price of basic foodstuffs.
Analysts say Mr Wade is likely to struggle in the second round.
His bid for a third consecutive term has sparked weeks of violent protests in recent months, leading to about six deaths, although polling on Sunday was largely peaceful.
The second round is expected on 18 March.
On Tuesday, Mr Wade's admitted he had failed to win more than 50% in the first round.
He also said that he would be opening talks with opposition candidates ahead of the run-off.
The president was booed as he cast his vote on Sunday in the capital, Dakar - and he lost in his own constituency.
Senegal's constitutional court ruled in January that Mr Wade could stand again on the grounds that his first term had not counted since it began before the two-term limit was introduced in 2001.
Senegal, a former French colony, is seen as a stable democracy with an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960.
It remains the only West African country where the army has never seized power.

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Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station
Austin, TX 78712-0220
512 475 7224
512 475 7222  (fax)

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