Senegal Affirms Election Results

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien is a published journalist and historicist with over six years of experience in freelance journalism and research. His primary expertise is in African conflict and politics, with additional specialization in Israeli/Palestinian and Armenia/Azerbaijan conflicts. Sébastien serves as the deputy desk chief for Africa.

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What’s Happening

After releasing preliminary results on Wednesday, Senegal’s Constitutional Council has affirmed election results which declare Bassirou Diomaye Faye as the winner of the election with 54.28% of the vote, officially securing him a first round victory.

In second place is Prime Minister Amadou Ba, the ruling party’s candidate, who secured 35.47% of the vote. PM Ba conceded on March 25th, the day after the election, after results showed Bassirou securing a majority.

Bassirou’s inauguration is likely to take place on April 2nd, the same day that the current President Macky Sall’s term is due to end. After his inauguration, the President-elect will become Africa’s youngest elected head of state at 44 years old. He will be Senegal’s fifth President since it gained independence in 1960.

The anti-establishment candidate has vowed to tackle corruption and reform portions of the economy, particularly in order to help lower youth unemployment, a large problem in Senegal where more than half of the population is aged 25 or younger.

Congratulations from many international entities have poured in for Bassirou, including from the African Union who hailed the “unanimous acceptance of the results.” They further wished him “full success in his weighty and noble charge.”

A congratulations also came from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he wants to “continue and intensify the partnership” between France and Senegal. Another part of Bassirou’s was the re-examination of Senegal’s relationship with France, Senegal’s former colonial power. Many within Senegal do not view France favourably, accusing them of being neo-colonialist. France maintains a large influence in Senegal’s economy.

France has suffered a number of hits the last several years in West Africa, largely at the hands of coups. Macron’s words imply he aims to avoid a deteriorated relationship with Senegal.

Bassirou’s victory in the election is a strong turnaround, with him only having been released from prison on March 14th, 10 days before the election on March 24th. Him, along with his key supporter Ousmane Sonko, as well as a number of others, were released from prison under President Sall’s Amnesty law, which freed people arrested since 2021 based on politics based charges.

Ousmane Sonko was previously the opposition’s most popular candidate, however he was barred from running in the Presidential election, prompting him to name Bassirou as his successor.