News24

Big polls win for Senegal presidential camp

2012-07-04 21:55

Dakar - Senegalese President Macky Sall's coalition won a landslide majority in legislative polls, swooping up 119 of 150 seats in the national assembly, according to official results published on Wednesday.

Former president Abdoulaye Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party, which had dominated the house, won only 12 seats while a breakaway group from the party scored four seats.

The remaining 15 seats went to smaller parties.

Turnout in Sunday's election was low at just 36.6% of the 5.3 million registered voters, only slightly more than legislative polls in 2007 which were boycotted by the opposition and saw only 34.7% of voters show up.

Sunday's vote was held some three months after Sall's crushing victory in a presidential poll over the veteran Wade, 86, whose efforts to stay in power for a third term sparked deadly riots in the run-up to the vote.

Sall had called for a majority to win to allow him to put his new regime's policies into action and "resolutely get to work".

Parties and coalitions had submitted 24 lists for the election which saw lawmakers voted in for five years.

More than 7 000 candidates were in the running.

A detailed breakdown of the lawmakers has not yet been made public, however roughly half of them should be women, a first in Senegal after a law was passed in 2010 requiring gender equality on party lists.

Women's organisations had praised the move as modern, while others in the majority Muslim, male-dominated nation have rejected it as unfair and undemocratic.

Only 33 of the outgoing lawmakers were women in a country whose population of 12 million is 52% female.

Rwanda is leading the continent in women's representation, with 56 percent female lawmakers, followed by South Africa at 46%.

Sall kicked off his presidency with an audit into the management of the former regime which has seen many former top officials hauled in for questioning over possible ill-gotten gains.