Senegal: Bassirou Diomaye Faye wins the presidential election in the 1st round: “The message is very strong”

Senegal: Bassirou Diomaye Faye wins the presidential election in the 1st round: “The message is very strong”

According to initial estimates, opponent Bassirou Diomaye Faye topped the poll on March 24, making him the 5th president of Senegal. The candidate of the presidential clan, Amadou Ba, who initially contested it, finally recognized his victory. For many, it is joy and relief.

Diomaye, the plebiscite” headlines the Senegalese media Obs this Monday, March 25. At the end of a day of voting which had strongly mobilized Senegalese citizens, the main trends quickly emerged. With estimates approaching 57% of the vote, according to local media, supporters of opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye did not wait for the end of the counting of ballots to let their joy explode. It's a real tidal wave during this highly anticipated election after the serious political crisis that arose following the decision of the President of the Republic to postpone the election.

This is unprecedented in the history of Senegal: a candidate presents himself for the first time in the presidential election and is elected in the first round. Another first: Bassirou Diomaye Faye will be the youngest president of the country. Coincidence of fate, the one who was not destined to be a candidate and who was chosen to replace the leader of the opposition, Ousmane Sonko, prevented from competing in the presidential election, celebrates his 44th birthday this Monday, March 25! If the ruling clan for a time refuted the victory in the first round, ensuring that their candidate would be “in the worst case” in the second round, Amadou Ba, candidate of the presidential movement and former Prime Minister “just called Bassirou Diomaye Faye on the phone to congratulate him and pray for him”, reported Abdou Karim Fofana, government spokesperson this Monday early in the afternoon. Shortly after, President Macky Sall also sent his congratulations, welcoming the “victory of Senegalese democracy”. The announcement of official results should occur by the end of this week to confirm this trend.

Exalted atmosphere in the streets and at party headquarters

As of Sunday evening, as soon as the polling stations closed, Diomaye's activists and sympathizers were certain: their candidate had won everything and won hands down in the first round. A crowd immediately took to the streets to express their happiness in the face of this political earthquake. The atmosphere was one of celebration in the main streets of Dakar, particularly around Cité Keur Gorgui, place of residence of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.

At the headquarters of Pastef, Ousmane Sonko's dissolved party, located in Dieuppeul, the atmosphere was excited. The hundreds of activists and sympathizers gathered were jubilant, rushing to break their fast in front of the place where large posters hang on the walls with the portraits of the two leaders, released from prison 10 days before the election, and the slogan “Diomaye mooy Sonko” (Diomaye is Sonko). “This is the biggest victory of all the elections in Senegal. The message is very strong, it is the population who came out en masse to completely change the system,” welcomes, happy, Cheikh Camara, 29 years old. Like many young Senegalese, this telecommunications technician had voted for this candidate in whom he places his hopes for a better life. “We expect Diomaye to work on employment. Many young people do not have a job. I have lots of graduate friends in this situation”, explains this activist since 2015 whose voice is covered by the thunderous music. In the eyes of many Senegalese Bassirou Diomaye Faye embodies the path to a break with the 12 years in power of President Macky Sall.

This victory gives us hope to move forward. We believe in him“, jubilant Saly Seydi, waving a large flag proclaiming “first round victory”. This victory in the first round is a major snub inflicted on President Macky Sall, and beyond that on the political system. Diomaye with his anti-corruption diatribes, his pan-Africanist and sovereignist speeches pleases the populations, particularly the youth who feel frustrated and excluded. “Change is necessary. Diomaye speaks to young people and understands them. We must change our old politicians who cling to power, assures Cheikh Amadou Bamba Fall, a 52-year-old trader. With this election, a new order seems to be opening up, the expectations for the 5th president of Senegal are considerable and the projects are enormous.

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