Senegalese Presidential Elections: Anti-System Candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye Comes Close to Winning First Round

Opposition candidate closing in on victory in Senegal elections

The anti-system candidate in Senegal, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, has come close to winning the first round of the presidential elections held after years of social unrest and political crisis. Four other candidates have congratulated Faye on Sunday after observing the trends in the vote count. Anta Babacar Ngom, the only female candidate, took to social media to congratulate Faye on his victory, along with Dthi Fall, Papa Djibril Fall, and Mamadou Lamine Diallo.

The ruling coalition supporting Ba is certain there will be a runoff if no candidate obtains an absolute majority. The country has strong relations with the West while Russia is strengthening its position in surrounding countries. Senegal has recently experienced instability through several coups d’état. The last-minute postponement of the elections initially scheduled for February led to violence and uncertainty, but the election was finally set for March 24. The campaign, reduced to two weeks in the middle of the Muslim fasting month, has been a pivotal moment in the country’s democracy.

In this pivotal moment for Senegal’s democracy, Faye emerged as one of the favorites in a field of 17 candidates alongside Ba. If elected, Faye aims to bring a new era to Senegal as he is considered a candidate for system change and left-wing Pan-Africanism. However, Ba has always been present in politics and his supporters have been more cautious about celebrating his apparent defeat too early.

Despite initial results showing that Faye had a clear advantage over former prime minister Amadou Ba postulated by the ruling coalition, no official results are expected until the end of the week. Hundreds of supporters gathered at Faye’s campaign headquarters to celebrate what appeared to be his victory while Ba’s headquarters had a more subdued atmosphere with a few dozen supporters present at all times during election day.

The incumbent president did not run for re-election and this left open opportunities for candidates like Ba and Faye to tackle persistent issues such as poverty, unemployment, debt and migration that have long plagued Senegal.

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