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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Another win for democracy

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Following months of uncertainty, and sometimes violence, the Senegalese people on Sunday had the chance to go to the polls to elect their next leader. The polls were largely peaceful and without much hitch according to election observers. There have been reports of people being unable to find their names in the voter lists but it went largely well.

A little less than a month ago, there were fears that there wouldn’t be any elections as confusion emerged from the fact that the President Macky Sall sought to postpone the elections till December 2024. He claimed that it was to enable the nation have a dialogue so that they could find a way of letting some disqualified candidates participate in the polls.

However, many of the opposition parties and indeed many Senegalese citizens saw that as a way of trying to overstay in power on the part of the president. There were riots which unfortunately led to the death of some people. There was a huge outcry around the world urging the president to rescind his decision.

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The Constitutional Council however rejected the president’s decision and called it unconstitutional. They resolved to hold the elections before the 2nd April, the day the president’s term is to expire. Thus, after much wrangling, 24th March 2024 was set for the elections.

This left the candidates with very little time to campaign to sell their manifestos, especially considering the fact that one of the leading contenders was still behind bars at the time. He was released roughly ten days before they went to the polls.

By all means this was a two-horse race involving President Macky Sall’s anointed candidate, Mr Amadou Ba and Mr Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a candidate who replaced opposition leader Ousmane Sonko when the latter was disqualified.

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Early indications seem to put Mr Faye in the lead although official results are expected in a few days. Whatever the outcome of this election, the fact that it happened at all, in a peaceful atmosphere, is testimony to the strength to Senegalese democracy.

This is a good day for democracy in West Africa.

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