Wade facing run-off in tight election

2012-02-27 13:47
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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 - Senegal looked headed for a second round of voting in unofficial results on Monday from a fraught election in which President Abdoulaye Wade is seeking a disputed third term.

The 85-year-old leader's former protégé Macky Sall declared a second round inevitable in the west African nation, whose reputation as a haven of stability is on the cards after a campaign tarnished by pre-poll riots.

While the incumbent's camp warned it was too early to say whether a second round would take place, opposition newspapers were less restrained.

"Wade's world collapses, Macky snatches a second round," reported L'Observateur, echoing headlines across the front pages of the daily newspapers.

The incumbent is seeking a third term in office after circumventing a two-term limit he introduced into the constitution. He says changes extending term lengths from five to seven years made in 2008 allow him a fresh mandate.

The country's highest court upheld his argument which sparked a month of riots in one of Africa's most stable nations, leaving six dead and prompting international concern.

The defiant leader was greeted by a cacophony of boos after voting on Sunday, angrily pushing one of his bodyguards out of the way as he beat a hasty retreat without speaking to the media.

Unofficial results show he was trounced in the small polling station by another prime minister, Moustapha Niasse, with Sall placing third.

Niasse's campaign member Abdou Latif Coulibaly also estimated a second round was on the cards: "It can change but of about 60 percent of votes, the trend is 30 percent for Wade, 26 percent for Macky and 20% for Niasse."

Sall, 50, who has a degree in engineering, is making a strong showing in unofficial results trickling in from polling stations.

Read more on:    abdoulaye wade  |  senegal  |  senegal elections  |  west africa
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