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Senegal: final sprint for the presidential campaign

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar23,2024

Senegal: final sprint for the pre-season campaign ;residential

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A supporter of opposition presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye and opposition leader Ousmane Sonko holds a photo of Sonko during their last campaign rally at the Caroline Faye stadium in Mbour, March 22, 2024.

Agence France-Presse

Presidential candidates in Senegal gathered crowds of supporters on Friday for their final meetings before Sunday's vote, marking the end of the vote. an express campaign, but peaceful compared to the months of tension which preceded this unprecedented election.

Amadou Ba and Bassirou Diomaye Faye in particular, considered the two main competitors in perhaps the most open election in the history of independent Senegal, lent themselves to a final show of force before the end of campaign Friday at midnight (local time).

I am committed to being a president of the Republic of all Senegalese and to fighting against hyper-presidentialism, launched Mr. Faye in front of thousands of supporters gathered in a stadium in Mbour.

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Senegalese opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye (center) applauds next to Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko (left) in front of the crowd of supporters gathered at the Caroline Faye stadium in Mbour, March 22, 2024.

He also declared himself ready to continue our partnership with our international partners on a win-win basis and to strengthen relations with our brother countries in the Sahel and work towards their return to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Mr. Faye, 43, an anti-system candidate whose victory would herald the possible challenge to an established model, received last-minute and weighty support on Friday during the appeal launched in his favor by Karim Wade, disqualified candidate from the historic Senegalese Democratic Party.

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In front of hundreds of supporters gathered on the Place de la Nation in Dakar, Amadou Ba declared for his part that he wanted to be the president of the Youth Republic. We will create at least one million jobs, he said.

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Supporters of presidential candidate Amadou Ba brandish signs displaying his portrait, March 22, 2024.

More than seven million Senegalese are called on Sunday to elect their fifth president in a completely indecisive election, and exceptional in many respects.

For the first time, the outgoing, in charge for 12 years and largely re-elected in 2019, is not running for re-election.

Senegalese were originally scheduled to vote on February 25, but a last-minute postponement caused unrest and several weeks of confusion that challenged the practice Democratic Republic of Senegal.

The campaign was reduced from three to two weeks.

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Gendarmes in the streets of Dakar during demonstrations against the postponement of the presidential elections on February 4, 2024 .

Eighteen men and one woman, two of whom announced their eventual withdrawal in favor of Mr. Faye, spent long days in crowds under the sun without drinking or eating due to the postponement of the election and its holding in the middle of a month of fasting for Muslims.

Amadou Ba and Bassirou Diomaye Faye are given favorites. The publication of polls is prohibited. A second round, the date of which has not been set, seems likely.

We know that these are the two who will come out [of the polls] if not #x27;there is no tsunami. The issue is who will be third and how they will position themselves.

A quote from El Hadji Mamadou Mbaye, teacher-researcher at the University of Saint-Louis

The latter mentions the names of the former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, and Aliou Mamadou Dia, leader of the Unity and Rally Party. The expert draws attention to the divisions of the opposition in the event of a second round against the ruling candidate.

But a victory for Mr. Faye would represent a political earthquake with the advent of a new generation and the arrival of an actor who did not come from the system, he said , although Mr. Faye has served in senior public office.

The election is being followed more closely abroad than in it would not be so in other developing countries. With 18 million inhabitants, Senegal is one of the most stable countries in West Africa shaken by coups d'état. He maintained strong relations with the West.

However, Senegal has experienced various episodes of unrest since 2021. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds arrested, damaging the image of the country, unfairly according to the government.

Ousmane Sonko, leader of the opposition and actor in a long standoff with power, was disqualified from the presidential election.

Released a week ago, he put himself at the service of his second, Mr. Faye, presented by his camp as the candidate for system change, recovered sovereignty and pan-Africanism from left.

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Supporters of Ousmane Sonko and Bassirou Diomaye demonstrate in Dakar on February 24, 2024.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Facing him, Amadou Ba, 62, stands as a bulwark against the adventurers. He promises to continue the momentum given, according to him, by President Sall and his ambitious development program. He must also take responsibility for his record, persistent poverty, high unemployment, heavy debt and hundreds of arrests.

The thirst for x27;appeasement will play a big role. We are coming out of a very tense period. All the candidates present themselves as the one who will reconcile the Senegalese, says Sidy Diop, deputy editorial director of the daily Le Soleil.

The release of MM. Faye and Sonko and hundreds of other detainees as well as an amnesty law contributed to a campaign without notable incident. It was also not very programmatic, says teacher-researcher Mbaye.

People don't vote for programs; this election is a meeting between a personality and a people.

Provisional results could be known as early as Sunday night.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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