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Senegal’s opposition candidate Faye takes early lead in presidential election

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On Sunday, preliminary results from Senegal’s presidential election showed that opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye was ahead of other candidates. The electoral body’s results indicated that Faye was leading with 56.7% of the vote, followed by his main rival, former Prime Minister Amadou Ba of the ruling coalition, who received 31%. Despite Faye’s supporters beginning to celebrate his victory on Sunday evening after receiving congratulatory messages from many of his competitors, Ba promised to provide his analysis of the results on Monday afternoon, respecting the law and the republic. The first official results must be published no later than March 29.

The presidential election saw a high turnout in different regions of the country, according to Abdoulaye Sylla, the president of the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (CENA). There were 19 candidates, including the only female candidate, Anta Babacar Ngom, but two dropped out to back Faye. More than 2,000 observers, including more than 800 international monitors, were accredited for the presidential election, according to the electoral body.

On Feb. 3, President Sall, who has been in power since 2012, postponed the presidential election originally scheduled on Feb. 25, citing a dispute over the candidate list and alleged corruption of constitutional judges, triggering political chaos in which three people were killed. The National Assembly then passed a bill postponing the vote until Dec. 15 as security forces stormed the building and removed some opposition lawmakers. But the Senegalese Constitutional Council declared the law postponing the country’s presidential vote to December “unconstitutional” and annulled his decree to delay the poll. Sall announced the new poll date after the Constitutional Council ruled that it would be unconstitutional to hold the presidential election after April 2, the date marking the end of the current term of the president.

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