Senegal awaits results after election

2012-02-27 07:40

Dakar - Senegal tallied results on Monday in an election in which incumbent Abdoulaye Wade, who is seeking to extend his rule with a disputed third term, was greeted by jeers as he cast his ballot.

The west African nation's reputation as a haven of stability has been tarnished by pre-poll violence over 85-year-old Wade's candidacy which left six dead in a month of riots.

As night fell some votes were counted by candlelight or lamps, and people sat intently listening to results trickling in on their cellphone radios.

In an election fraught with tension, none of the 13 opposition candidates emerged as a frontrunner before the poll as protests over Wade's candidacy rocked the nation and left six dead.

However Wade's former protégé and prime minister Macky Sall's camp said early results showed the two were "neck-on-neck" and headed to a second round.

Spokesman Jean-Paul Dias said Wade was polling between 34 and 36 percent, while Sall stood between 32% and 34%.

"The second round could thus take place between Abdoulaye Wade and Macky Sall."

The statement came after unofficial results showed Wade was beaten in his own district where he was greeted by a cacophony of boos after voting, angrily pushing one of his bodyguards out of the way as he beat a hasty retreat without speaking to the media.

More violence

He was trounced by former prime minister Moustapha Niasse in the small polling station where 484 people voted, with Sall in third place, the national news agency APS reported.

The octogenarian has said he is certain of a first-round win, which analysts say could spark more violence after a month of deadly riots prompted by his candidacy, which the opposition says breaks the rules.

Wade, who says he needs more time in office to finish his "grand projects", argues that the two-term limit he himself worked into the constitution to run in the election does not apply to him.

The 2008 constitutional changes extending term lengths from five to seven years allow him to serve two more mandates, he says, an argument accepted by the country's highest court.

"My majority is so overwhelming that I think I will be elected with a strong percentage in the first round," Wade told the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche published Sunday.

He heaped derision on earlier calls from France and the United States that he retire, saying his former allies had criticised him because "I am not docile ... I am not a Negro service boy".

The US State Department's Africa point man Johnnie Carson said the polls had been "orderly, peaceful and well managed", and that it was critical for the country that they went well.

But Senegal's Grammy-winning singer Youssou Ndour warned that the country would not accept an "electoral coup" by Wade.

Growing frustration

The octogenarian was cheered into power on a wave of euphoria 12 years ago, but his efforts to cling to power and line up his unpopular son Karim to succeed him dented his popularity, shown by the jeers as he voted with his son at his side.

Growing frustration over high unemployment, rising food prices and crippling power cuts also have Senegalese looking for a change.

Both Sall, 51, and Niasse, 72, have been pegged as main contenders in the electoral race and were both among candidates who took to the campaign trail with vigour, while others rallied protesters in the capital to pressure Wade to step down.

In a polling station in central Dakar, its walls brightly painted with cartoon characters, Cheikh Angai rooted for a Sall victory.

"He will win, no problem. He is a dignified and serious man. Wade is too old, he has done a good job but now he must leave," he said.

The African Union's envoy, former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo, said he was pleased with the voting process by midday, saying he believed "we may have a peaceful and honest election".

Wade's supporters praise him for overseeing a development boom, but he is accused of focusing on prestige projects and being out of touch with the needs of the people.

The former French colony of some 13 million people is one of the continent's pioneer democracies, boasting an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960. Unlike many of its troubled neighbours it has never suffered a coup.


Read more on:    au  |  youssou ndour  |  olusegun obasanjo  |  abdoulaye wade  |  senegal  |  senegal elections  |  west africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Solidarity urges members to vote

The Solidarity Movement has urged its members and supporters to vote in the 7 May general election.


Latest elections multimedia

11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
The EFF's ad was banned, see why
Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Welcome on board the 24 hour sale on books!

Today only, buy 1 book and get 1 FREE on the top 100 books. Offer expires midnight 23 April. While stocks last. Shop now!

Get 50% off selected books!

Buy 2 books and get 50% off the second book. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be constantly on the move, working too hard, networking and making sure everything is working and everyone is satisfied, more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.