Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade conceded defeat to challenger Macky Sall late Sunday as initial results in the presidential run-off election showed the opposition candidate with a commanding lead.
Sall's supporters began celebrating in the streets of Dakar, the capital, as results came in, the Associated Press reported.
Agence France-Presse said thousands of people gathered in front of Sall's party headquarters, dancing, singing and honking their horns. Hundreds more descended on Independence Square to celebrate.
The Senegalese Press Agency said Wade "phoned his rival Macky Sall at 2130 GMT to congratulate him after the first results showed him to be the winner of a presidential run-off" vote. This move eased fears that Wade, who had controversially changed the constitution to allow himself a third term, would try to stay in office or challenge the victory of Sall, his former protege, the AP said.
Wade, 85, who has ruled the West African nation for 12 years, lost in a number of key voting areas including in his home precinct in Dakar, according to reports.
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In the first round of elections in February, Wade fell short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a run off, receiving only 34.82 percent while the 13 opposition candidates split the remaining votes. They united behind Sall, 50, a former prime minister who ran Wade's 2007 campaign, for Sunday's run-off election.
Six people were killed in protests in the lead up to February's election, but campaigning for the second round was calm in comparison, with only a few clashes reported between rival supporters, the BBC said.
With the election coming just days after a coup in neighboring Mali, European Union election observers urged Senegal to prove its reputation as a bastion of democracy in the region, Agence France-Presse said.
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