Senegal: the seizure of power is approaching for the anti-system opponent Diomaye Faye

Senegal: the seizure of power is approaching for the anti-system opponent Diomaye Faye

Senegalese opponent Bassirou Diomaye Faye could be proclaimed definitive winner of the presidential election by the end of the week, completing an extraordinary and rapid rise to the top of the state.

After weeks of crisis which raised fears of a postponement of the election until December or a vacuum of power, the apparatus is working to forcefully re-establish the norm of regulated transition which characterizes the country and to make possible a handover in accordance with tradition between the outgoing Macky Sall and his successor by next week.

The anti-system opponent, Mr. Faye, who was still in prison two weeks ago, won in the first round on Sunday with 54.28% of the votes, far ahead of the government candidate Amadou Ba (35.79% ).

It is now the turn of the Constitutional Council to examine possible appeals from candidates and to declare Mr. Faye definitively the winner, or to cancel the election, a highly improbable hypothesis.

Candidates have 72 hours to contact the Council, says the Constitution. But the Council also decided to reduce the deadlines, probably to ensure that a handover takes place before April 2, the official end date of Mr. Sall's mandate.

The Council gave any protesters until Thursday midnight (Friday 00:00 GMT) to come forward.

He invoked “the exceptional circumstances” having led to “the compression of all deadlines”. He refers to the postponement of the presidential election, initially scheduled for February 25 and finally set for March 24.

The postponement decreed at the last minute by President Sall caused a serious crisis and sowed doubt about the possibility of a handover before the expiration of his mandate.

A timely transfer is important in a country which prides itself on its democratic practices and which is considered one of the most stable in West Africa shaken by coups d'état.

In the absence of dispute, “the Council immediately proclaims the final results of the vote”, says the Constitution. In the event of an appeal, the Council has, theoretically, five days to rule.

Mr. Faye's opponents have acknowledged his victory and none have so far publicly expressed any intention of raising an objection. The provisional results appear to make Mr. Faye's victory irrefutable while confirming the magnitude of what amounts to a political earthquake.

“Last” Tip

Bassirou Diomaye Faye is the first opponent to win in the first round since Independence in 1960.

Never before held a national elective office, at 44 he is expected to become the fifth and youngest president of the country of 18 million inhabitants.

Its advent could herald a profound systemic challenge. He presents himself as the man of the “rupture” with twelve years of Sall presidency, of the reestablishment of a “sovereignty” sold off according to him abroad, and of a “left pan-Africanism”. He vows to fight corruption and injustice.

Faced with the possibility of a power vacuum, President Sall has said several times that he would leave on April 2, even if the Constitutional Council left the door open to an extension if necessary.

The Council of Ministers that he chaired on Wednesday was the “last”, according to the press release from his services. He asked the government to “take all the necessary measures” to prepare the handover files, with a view to “the installation in the best conditions” of the new president, the press release said.

The last three years of the Sall presidency were marked by the fallout from global crises, a fierce standoff with the anti-system opposition and internal unrest.

Senegal experienced a new bout of fever in February when Mr. Sall decreed the postponement of the election. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested since 2021, and Senegal's democratic credentials have been examined in a new light.

Mr. Faye was himself detained for months before his release in the middle of the electoral campaign in mid-March.

He stated “national reconciliation”, the “refoundation” of institutions and “significant reduction in the cost of living” as his “priority projects”. He took care to reassure abroad, attentive to his promises to reconsider or renegotiate existing partnerships. Senegal “will remain the friendly country and the safe and reliable ally of any partner who engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation,” he said.

What do you think of this article?

Be the first person to review this item.