The first round of the presidential election in Senegal took place on 26 February. The run up to the election had been marked by violence between supporters of incumbent president, Abdoulaye Wade, and anti-Wade supporters. However, the ballot itself seems to have been conducted well. Moreover, given Wade was not elected at the first ballot and campaigning for the second ballot has, so far, been peaceful, the election is being considered as a model for the continent.
Anyway, according to the national press agency, here is the result of the first ballot:
Abdoulaye Wade : 942,546 (34.82%) Macky Sall : 719,369 (26.57%) Moustapha Niasse : 357,347 (13.20%) Ousmane Tanor Dieng : 305,980 (11.30%) Idrissa Seck : 212,848 (7.86%) Cheikh Abiboulah Dièye : 52,196 (1.93%) Ibrahima Fall : 48,950 (1.81%) Cheikh Tidiane Gadio : 26,667 (0.99%) Mor Dieng : 11,399 (0.42%) Djibril Ngom : 10,189 (0.38%) Oumar Khassimou Dia : 6,472 (0.24%) Amsatou Sow Sidibé : 5,166 (0.19%) Doudou Ndoye : 4,574 (0.17%) Diouma Diakhaté : 3,353 (0.12%).
The turnout was 51.58%
So, there will be a second ballot on 18 March. President’s Wade’s challenger is Macky Sall. He was formerly an ally of Wade. He was PM from April 2004-June 2007 and was President of the National Assembly from June 2007-November 2008. By that time, though, his relationship with Wade had broken down. Wade’s supporters in the Assembly voted to reduce the term of the President of the National Assembly from 5 years to 1 year. Consequently, Sall resigned both from the president’s PDS party and from the Assembly itself. Sall outperformed two previous PMs under Wade, Moustapha Niasse and Idriss Seck. Both stood against Wade in 2007.
Sall stands a real chance of winning at the second ballot. If he does, then it will mirror Wade’s own victory in 2000. There too, the key challenge was to ensure that incumbent president Diouf did not win at the first round. Wade is clearly aware of the parallels. Last year, he tried to introduce a constitutional reform that would have lowered the barrier to victory at the first ballot. The reform was met with popular protests and was withdrawn. Had it been introduced, then Wade would probably have won at the first ballot this time.