Senegal's President-elect Macky Sall hails 'new era'


People on the streets in Dakar celebrate Senegal's election result

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The winner of Senegal's presidential election, Macky Sall, has said the poll marks a "new era" for the country.

He was speaking after his rival, current President Abdoulaye Wade, admitted defeat in Sunday's run-off.

Mr Wade's bid for a third term in office sparked violent protests which left six people dead.

Speaking in front of thousands of cheering supporters in the capital Dakar, Mr Sall, 50, promised to be a president for all Senegalese.

Official results from Sunday's election are expected within two days.

'Model of democracy'


Street celebrations quickly followed the incumbent president's early phone call to Macky Sall to admit defeat and congratulate him. These were scenes of relief for the Senegalese. People were simply relieved that democracy had prevailed.

Many had feared that Abdoulaye Wade's candidacy for a third term meant he would try to cling to power and tarnish the country's image as a peaceful and stable democracy. Senegal hasn't suffered from a military takeover since independence but Mr Wade's intention to run again was seen as a "constitutional coup" violating a two-term limit.

After weeks of deadly protests before the first round, the Senegalese gave a lesson in democracy to West Africa - and the whole continent - using their ballots to oust Mr Wade rather than continue facing the security forces in the streets.

But Is it Macky Sall's victory or Abdoulaye Wade's defeat? As the local media were announcing results coming out of polling station one after the other after polls closed, it became clear that this election was a referendum in which people voted "no" to more of Mr Wade.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of Senegal's former colonial ruler, France, hailed the result as being "good news for Africa in general and for Senegal in particular".

"Senegal is a major African country and a model of democracy," he said.

The election comes just days after a military coup in neighbouring Mali.

Senegal remains the only country in West Africa to have never undergone a coup.

Thijs Berman, the head of the European Union observer mission to Senegal, said the results were very clear - about 65% for Mr Sall and 35% for Mr Wade so "there is no hesitation as to who is the winner".

Mr Sall stressed that the people were the main winners in the poll.

Mr Wade had "phoned his rival Macky Sall at 21:30 GMT [on Sunday] to congratulate him after the first results showed him to be the winner of a presidential run-off," the Senegalese Press Agency said.

Mr Wade, 85, has governed Senegal for 12 years.

Even before Mr Wade's concession, thousands of Sall supporters began celebrating on the streets of Dakar.

They chanted "Macky president!" and "We have won!"

Former allies

Macky Sall

A poster of Macky Sall and his supporters celebrating
  • Age: 50
  • Mayor of his home town of Fatick in central Senegal
  • From poor family background
  • Former prime minister and protege of Abdoulaye Wade
  • Fell out with president after summoning his son, Karim Wade, to answer questions in parliament
  • Backed by all main opposition candidates in second round

Mr Wade brought in a two-term limit for presidential office, but argued that the limit should not apply to his first term which came in before the constitution was changed.

His argument was upheld by the constitutional court in January, prompting widespread protests in which six people died.

In February's first round, Mr Wade fell short of a majority, polling only 34.8%. Mr Sall came second with 26.6%. But most of the other 12 candidates backed Mr Sall in the second round.

Mr Sall owes his political career to Mr Wade, and had held several ministry portfolios before becoming prime minister, the BBC's Thomas Fessy reports from Dakar.

But the two men fell out over the handling of public spending by Karim Wade, the president's unpopular son, whom many believe has been trying to succeed his father, our correspondent adds.

Mr Sall has promised that, if elected, he will shorten the presidential term to five years from the current seven, and enforce the two-term limit. He has also promised to bring in measures to reduce the price of basic foodstuffs.

The new leader also faces the difficult task of tackling rising unemployment in the country, our correspondent says.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    This is not a victory for His excellency President elect Macky Sall or a lost for outgoing President Metre Abdoulie Wade. Every Senegalese have won today. Now that the Senegalese people have spoken, the Borden of proof is upon President elect Macky Sall.He must rule as promised and leave when the time is right. Let him not allow himself to fall into the mistakes of his predecessor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Opposition candidate Macky Sall defeated President Abdoulaye Wade in a second round of voting. Calm prevailed as voters streamed to polls. After preliminary results came in, Wade called Sall to congratulate the former prime minister and National Assembly leader on his victory.
    How very democratic! Congratulations to Macky Sall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Good for Africa at least people in west African have started to test democracy,the first was Ghana and now Senegal bravo and thanks to Wade who has accepted the defeat without running to house Ben's and calvarts .congratulations to all Senegalese.Mr Mu seven, Mugabe, rise your eye blowers to see where your taking Uganda and Zimbabwe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Senegal is a wonderful country, people very hospitable and generous. It has been a beacon for democracy in Africa, so this result is excellent. It is also an Islamic country but a very tolerant form - alcohol accepted in moderation, women have equality, other religions welcomed and muslim Brotherhoods offer protection to the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Felicitacion Senegal

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    congratulations to the people of senegal for taking a u turn in your political history once again ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I work within many African countries and regrettably, i suspect that this will simply be another African President who will cream off large quantities of cash for himself and his family. I have yet to work with anyone form this continent who works in an honest way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Common sense prevailed. Don't know why the incumbent Abdoulaye Wade tried to stay on for longer than necessary

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Congratulations to all the people of Senegal, including Mr Wade. I was there about a year ago and would like to go again, thinking that my small amount of foreign exchange (as a tourist) will help the economy and the people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    People are more powerfull than any governments. Mr. Wade lost his chance to enjoy the list of good African leaders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    'A president for all Senegalese!'

    Dont make me laugh.

    Mr Sall's Christmas has just come early! I bet you, in the next one year, it will be all about emptying the countries coffers and wives shopping in Paris!

    Congrats Mr President!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    two words, CORRUPTION & EXPLOITATION! will follow. I'm not a wise old world'ly person, I just average at spotting human frailties,,,,

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Everyone is relieved that democracy has prevailed ..... so far. It a pity that the leaders of the coup in Mali last week didn't believe democracy doesn't come out a gun. One step forward is matched by one step backwards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Indeed congratulations to the Senegalese people, you have shown that you are the best not like Africans who seem to be manipulating results in detriments of the country been bribed and the electoral commission sells the people’ choice in favor of the ruling party...But this time, Senegalese electoral commission made a difference in Africa...May God bless you all…

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Anyone remembers Kenya? It will be long time before you can be sure to congratulate. It is lot easier to run election these days, than keep democracy going.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    This is the best possible news to greet the international delegates orriving for the third Global Green Conference, of which I'll be one. To be greeted by jubilant crowds celebrating the triumph of democracy and not by harrassed demonstrators lamenting its passing is indeed a wonderful development. Wade is however to be praised for the grace and speed of his resignation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    How ironic that comments are not forth coming for a positive piece of news on Africa. If it were bad news (coup in Mali, pirates in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria etc...) the comments would be pouring rather than trickling in.
    Anyway, congratulations to Senegal. I hope African politicians can learn from Senegal's electoral process.

    To Mr Sall, don't let your people down. They are the real heroes

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Good news for Africa! An incumbent president has conceded defeat. Congratulations Mr. Wade.Truly, you are a landmark of democracy in Africa. Thanks for making a courtesy call to your rival--it shows maturity.

    Welcome president elect. We are watching you here in Kenya.Handle your people with care, they are God's property, you are a care-taker.

    Good luck Sir.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    What a relief to hear that Wade showed some dignity and didn't try to cling onto power. Our three-line whip could learn a lot from this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Congratulations to Senegal for a democratic transition.


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