Showdown in Senegal

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Senegal is set for a run-off in the presidential election after the incumbent, Abdoulaye Wade, failed to secure a majority of votes in the first round.  The second round will pit Wade, who is attempting to stay for a controversial third term in power, against Macky Sall, the former Prime Minister and Mayor of Fatick.  The election will hinge on whether Wade or Sall can capture the 20% of the vote which went to Niasse and Seck in the first round.  As things stand, Wade appears vulnerable.

1st Round Results (%)

Abdoulaye Wade                  38.4

Macky Sall                           26.5

Moustapha Niasse                13.2

Idrassa Seck                         7.8

Although he has yet to formally endorse Sall’s campaign, Niasse has already instructed his supporters not to vote for Wade, who is deeply unpopular in part of the country.  However, the President still holds some of the best cards, and has announced that he plans to open negotiations with opposition leaders ahead of the run-off.  Many commentators worry that despite Senegal’s history of relatively open and competitive politics Wade will refuse to give up power if things do not go his way.

There are already stories that journalists have been threatened and assaulted by security officials and party members.  For our extremely well received blog on the treat to democracy in Senegal, click here

Helene_Neveu3

Hélène Neveu Kringlebach, one of my colleagues at the African Studies Centre in Oxford, recently did an excellent oiece with Radio France International on the role of youth in the Senegalese elections. To listen to the podcast, click here

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