Senegal Election: testy victory for ruling party

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On the heels of Nigeria, Senegal sitting president Marky Sall wins election amidst violence and the charge of systemic electoral manipulation

Senegal’s President Re-Elected After Race Tested by Violence

Marky Sall’s two main opponents have questioned the credibility of the vote tally

By Nicholas Bariyo WSJ

Feb. 28, 2019 11:52 a.m. ET
Senegal’s President Marky Sall won re-election, capping days of tense vote tallying following an unusually violent campaign in one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

The West African nation’s election commission announced Mr. Sall garnered 58% of the vote in the first round on Sunday, handing the 57-year-old former geologist a second term in office.

Opposition Kicks

Al Jazeera report from news agencies states Idrissa Seck, the opposition candidate and runner-up in the race, said he will not appeal the election results.

Seck had previously said that his camp’s results showed Sall not winning enough votes for re-election in the first round. Sall, the incumbent president ultimately received 58.27 percent of the vote, according to Demba Kandji, chairman of the electoral body.

Seck took 20.50 percent of the vote while Ousmane Sonko had 15.67 percent.

President Sall sought re-election on his record of building roads and creating jobs, while opposition supporters maintained those efforts had not reached many in this West African country where young men often risk their lives to migrate to Europe.

Election observers reported no major irregularities during the voting on Sunday.

Senegal has long been a democratic example in West Africa where coups and clinging to power used to be all too common.

However, this year’s vote was marked by allegations that the presidency had effectively blocked two prominent opposition politicians from taking part: Dakar’s former mayor and the son of the president Sall defeated in 2012.

That year he had campaigned on a message of change to beat longtime President Abdoulaye Wade. A constitutional referendum since then has shortened the presidential term from seven years to five.

Sall weathered some criticism after he finished out his seven-year mandate following that law change.

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