Senegal set for second vote after President fails to win majority
Daniel Howden is Africa Correspondent for The Independent. He has reported from more than 50 countries covering everything from wars and elections to natural disasters and environmental crises. Special interests beyond Africa include southeast Europe, Latin America and global forests. A former Athens correspondent he has returned to Greece regularly during the European debt crisis. Now based in Nairobi, he acted as producer on the documentary 'Stolen Seas: Tales of Somali Piracy', winner of the Boccalino D'Oro prize at the 2012 Locarno film festival.
Tuesday 28 February 2012
Senegal is set for a run-off vote after its aged president failed to win a majority in a contentious election that has threatened to destabilise the West African nation. Former prime minister Macky Sall came a close second to the 85 year old Abdoulaye Wade, according to provisional results, and electors will now have to choose between them in a second round expected in mid-March.
A geologist who held several ministerial posts during Mr Wade's 12 years in power, Mr Sall fell out with the president after criticising the growing influence in government of his son, Karim Wade.
The challenger claimed yesterday that he already had the important endorsement of Senegal's music star Youssou N'Dour who has accused Mr Wade of being a "dictator" and was barred from running for the presidency himself. Mr Wade confirmed that he accepts the outcome of the first round and that he will contest the run-off.
Mr Sall glossed over his previous closeness to the president by boasting he was a "student who had surpassed his master".
The failure to land a first-round win will now see the president facing a more united opposition amid signs of widespread anger at his flouting of constitutional terms limiting his bid to stay in power. Mr Wade was visibly shocked on polling day when he was jeered by his own neighbours as he went to vote.
The build-up to Sunday's elections was marked by daily protests that shattered the usual calm in the seaside capital, Dakar, and elsewhere. Demonstrators were demanding that the "old man" respect the term limits that he put in place after taking power in 2000 that were meant to forbid a third term. The death toll of seven people is unremarkable by the standards of other West African political crises but was considered serious enough for the African Union and the regional bloc Ecowas to send a high-level delegation.
While most opposition leaders in Senegal focused on demands for Mr Wade to step aside, Mr Sall focused on trying to beat the octogenarian at the polls. He can expect the backing of the influential hip hop movement Y'en a Marre, who have been the main instigators of the anti-Wade street protests.
Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
World news in pictures
X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history
Oklahoma tornado: Frantic search for victims continues, as tales of survival emerge
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
- 3 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 4 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 5 Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£29000 - £45000 per annum + TLR and SEN allowance if applicable: Randstad Educ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply Teachers in West Susse...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Are you a qualified teacher l...