Initial results from Senegal’s presidential elections are pointing towards a possible run-off between incumbent Abdoulaye Wade and former prime minister Macky Sall, raising the prospect of intensified political unrest in West Africa’s most stable democracy.
With 10 percent of the ballots counted, Wade is estimated to have secured just 24 percent of the vote, with his nearest challenger out of a total of 13 candidates winning 21 percent, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
Under Senagalese law, a presidential candidate must gain more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off election.
A source in the country’s electoral commission has said that a run-off between Wade and Sall is “likely,” confirming local media reports and Sall’s own comments, according to the BBC.
“Figures at our disposal indicate a second round is inevitable,” Sall told Reuters, cautioning against vote-rigging by Wade. The first results should be published later Monday.
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Sunday’s polling followed weeks of angry street protests against Wade’s bid to secure a third term in office, despite having served a constitutional limit of two terms.
His critics argue he has no right to stand again. Around six died in the violence.
The 85-year-old was booed as he cast his vote in the capital, Dakar, on Sunday, with protesters shouting: “Get out, old man!”
Wade lost in his own constituency in the capital’s middle class neighbourhood of Point E, according to reports from Senegalese national APS news agency.
The president has talked up infrastructure projects like new roads and an airport as major achievements during his time in office, and has accused the opposition of mounting a smear campaign against him in the absence of any concrete policy proposals.
Sall, a 50-year-old geologist and mayor of the town of Fatick in the west of the country, is running for the first time, and has been the only candidate to properly campaign around Senegal.
However, Wade’s chances of winning are much slimmer in a run-off as the opposition will likely unite under an “anyone-but-Wade” umbrella, according to the Washington Post.
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