Macky Sall Senegal election win 'example for Africa'

 

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

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Senegal's presidential election, which saw the incumbent concede defeat peacefully, has been hailed as a "great victory for democracy" in Africa.

President Abdoulaye Wade has accepted that he was defeated by Macky Sall in Sunday's run-off.

The African Union said Mr Wade's concession showed "maturity" in the country's democracy while the European Union called Senegal a "great example".

Mr Sall addressed thousands of cheering supporters in the capital, Dakar.

He promised to be a president for all Senegalese people.

The president-elect, 50, said the poll marks a "new era" for the country.

Analysis

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.

His rival's bid for a third term in office, after 12 years in power, sparked violent protests which left six people dead.

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

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said it was "a great victory for democracy in Senegal and in Africa", reports the AFP news agency.

"Senegal is a great example for Africa," he added.

AU Commission chairman Jean Ping said the peaceful conduct of the presidential elections "proved that Africa, despite its challenges, continues to register significant progress towards democracy and transparent elections".

Earlier, President Nicolas Sarkozy of Senegal's former colonial ruler, France, said the peaceful election was "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.

Mr Wade "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.

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

Former allies

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

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
    0

    Comment number 25.

    I tend to agree with benkwadwo. There are many large countries around the world, including many whose favours the West curries, who could well do with a dose of Senegalese democracy.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 23.

    A sad reflection on African politics that a change of government by ballot box rather than by bullet is so exceptional as to be worthy of an article. Nonetheless - triumphantly claiming election victory is easy. Admitting defeat and stepping down with dignity is harder. Well done to both candidates; you've done your country proud and set an example to your neighbours - I hope they follow it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 22.

    The mere title of this post is demeanings to Africans. Why is this an example for Africa? Senegal is not the only country to have completed a peaceful election on the continent. The title implies that the continent is Incapable. In a similar veign, so many countries are portrayed at different times, as the "most friendly" or "Africa for beginners", which again portrays the rest negatively.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 21.

    This is a win of all African Continent. All leaders should remain in power with legitimecy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    So proud of Senegal. I hope some corrupt senators, governors, presidents in Africa will learn from this. The determination of the massive can never be undermined by anybody. I hope they will learn from the good example of our own honourable Abdoulaye Wade.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    This is a bright day in Africa, wow the old man has been defeated at last Mr. Wade no that what goes a round comes a round.
    You opposed both Gbagbo and Gaddafi shame unto you .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    I don't know when the light dawned on President Wade, but he just went from typical African scoundrel leader to a statesman. Congratulations President Wade and congratulations Senegal for settling this in the voting booths.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    I am so happy for my dear Senegal. Once again the people of senegal a have shown that they are politically matured and can come together for the greater good of their nation. Well done Wade for putting senegal first even though you try not to by seeking a third term. As for Sall I congratulate you and hope that you will learn from the mistakes of your predecessors.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    @Olyec Oloyi, Please stop being nostalgia and face the truth for the sake of the future generation of Africa to live a life like yours rather than in absolute poverty and is through democracy they screen the perpetrators. Africans are democrats before Americans had it and yet the most undemocratic ruthless rulers on Earth. How come?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    God, I am so proud of my Senegalese brothers and sisters. It’s just unbelievable that, The Gambia, embedded in her belly has the world most undemocratic, brutal, murderous, corrupted and self-claimed curer of HIV, who harbour his kinsmen separatist rebels aim at destabilising of Senegal.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    If your mission in Africa is to promote democracy, religion, business, advertisement, politic and food Aid, you are doomed. Africans don't listen to people who think they can lecture them on issues that they (Africans know better). There is more kidnaping of Westerners who come to Africa to promote things that don't make senes to Africa i.e Dogs rights, pegion rights or GL rights and Wn rights.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    Why is any improvement in government in Africa is always connected to good democracy? Why is it when things goes wrong in Africa it is always called genocides. The good election in Senegal has to do with the Senegalese, people of the country. Please stop this business of bad of good democracy. Africans are democrats before Americans had it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    This is great news but let's not raise champagne yet. There have been such stories before; in Zambia Kaunda conceded defeat but later Chiluba turned a disgrace. In Kenya, although incumbent Moi wasn't standing he chose Kenyatta who was defeated by Kibaki. But Kibaki's reign became more corrupt than Moi's. Similar cases occurred in Malawi, Nigeria, etc. Hope Senegal will be a true change.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 11.

    8. Polly8122 28 MINUTES AGO @7.krokodil

    Its been 3 hours and just struggled into double figures.

    We only see the bad bits about Africa. This is a great story...but because its positive...nobody is much bothered.

    I just hope Senegal does not look at our democracy and apathy towards it and wonder why they should bother.

    Democracy for all it faults is the best system.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 10.

    Kudos to all the Senegalese people! I wonder how people like M7, Kabila, Kagame, and the rest feel when they here such news coming from within their own continent! Wade was about to derail from the right path but thanks God he came back to his senses. Such souls are to be numbered among the true people of Africa who have feeling about their brothers and sisters. YES WE CAN!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    Accepting an election result and conceding defeat gracefully without hurling allegations left right and centre. No it will never catch on

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 8.

    @7.krokodil

    "Sad how few comments are on this."


    Agreed, there's lots of good news to be heard about Africa, so many great places and people.

    I know Sportsaid etc mean well and do good work, but they don't help Africa's image much the way they present Africa.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.

    Sad how few comments are on this.

    But its good news so not exciting.

    Well done Senegal and enjoy being a healthy democracy.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 6.

    Congratulations to Senegal for the peaceful elections and confirming that it can be done . It joins countries like Ghana, where the former presidents and current one can both sit and have a drink together even though they belong to different parties..Africa has had enough of the bloodshed and the wise ones have led the way and are developing economically at speed..

 

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