Senegal vote: Wade humiliated

2012-03-01 09:21
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Senegal elections

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade is in a tight race with his main rival Macky Sall, according to early unofficial tallies from the most contentious poll in the west African state's recent history.

Dakar - Presidential election results published late on Wednesday dealt a humiliating blow to Senegal's aging leader, who had boasted that he would win the race outright and instead will have to face his former protégé in a runoff election next month.

President Abdoulaye Wade, whose decision to seek a third term at age 85 has infuriated many Senegalese, got 942 546 votes, or 34.82%. That's far short of the 50% that he needed to win the contest outright, as he did five years ago when his campaign was run by his former prime minister Macky Sall.

This time, Wade will faceoff against Sall in the second round. Sall came in second with 719 369 votes, or 26.57%, according to the provisional results read by the head of the country's appeals court, Demba Kandji.

In third and fourth place were two other members of Wade's inner circle who fell out with him, including ex-prime ministers Moustapha Niasse, with 357 347 votes, or 13.2%, and Idrissa Seck with 212 848, or 7.86%.

The results are an embarrassing defeat for Wade, who experts said needed to win on the first round when the opposition was split in order to hold on to power. On the first round he was facing 13 opponents, and the opposition vote was split. His chances are far slimmer in a runoff election, when the opposition will likely be united behind Sall.

Wade's waning popularity was evident when he went to vote on Sunday. Instead of the usual cheers, the leader was loudly booed and heckled by hundreds of voters. The contest became less about the issues, which were rarely discussed, and all about saying no to Wade's bid for a third term, a move that many considered to be a violation of the constitution. It was the president himself who recently revised the law to impose a two-term maximum.

New page of history

"On Sunday, February 26, 2012, you clearly and with a great majority made your voice heard to put an end to the regime of the sitting president," Sall said at a press conference on Wednesday. "Two out of every three Senegalese chose to open a new page of our history. ... Senegal is at a crossroad."

The former premier outlined the reforms that he hoped to pursue if he wins the March runoff, whose date has not yet been announced. The results issued Wednesday are considered provisional until all appeals have been addressed.

Supporters erupted in cheers when Sall, in a sharp sable-gray suit and burgundy tie, said that he planned to change the constitution to reduce the presidential term from seven to five years.

For most of Senegal's post-independence history, the presidential term was seven years long. When Wade was elected in 2000, he reduced it to five. Then he had a change of heart, and changed the constitution back in 2008 to increase it back to seven years. It was one of 15 revisions to the constitution that he enacted, and critics began to accuse him of treating the country and its laws as his personal property.

"I will propose a reform of the constitution which will among other things reduce the length of the term of the president of the republic to five years - renewable a single time. And I am here to say that I will apply this reform to myself. I am committing myself to carrying out a term of five years," Sall said.

"And this reform which will limit the number of terms to two and the duration of the term to five years will not be something that can ever be modified again. ... The president is not a king. He is a man who for a limited time is given the right to govern."

Wade's reputation


In power for 12 years, Wade was once considered among the rare African leaders committed to democracy in a neighborhood better known for rule by strongmen. He spent 25 years in the opposition fighting to loosen the grip of the former socialist party, which ruled this former French colony for 40 years since independence in 1960.

His image began to suffer after he began giving an increasing share of power to his son, who is derisively called "the Minister of the Sky and the Earth" after he was handed control of multiple ministries including infrastructure and energy.

Wade's reputation took a nosedive when he announced last year that he planned to run for a third term. For weeks leading up to Sunday's election, protesters calling for Wade to step down hurled rocks at police in demonstrations that paralyzed the capital's economic heart.

The bombast that had characterised Wade's campaign was gone on Wednesday.

The president's nephew, who is the majority leader in the country's parliament, no longer spoke of Wade winning with a "crushing majority".

"What is important to note is that no one can ignore Wade's achievements," Doudou Wade said. "We will go and speak to the Senegalese with humility. They are the ones who have the final word."

- SAPA
Read more on:    macky sall  |  abdoulaye wade  |  senegal  |  senegal elections  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.