Ex-protege wins over Senegalese president
DAKARSenegal’s long-serving leader Abdoulaye Wade admitted defeat in the presidential election late March 25, congratulating his rival Macky Sall, a move seen as bolstering the West African state’s democratic credentials in a region fraught with political chaos.
Thousands of residents of the capital Dakar poured onto the streets overnight, honking car horns, beating drums and singing in celebration after state television reported that Wade had telephoned Sall to concede the country’s most contentious poll in recent history. The move alleviated fears that Wade would attempt to stay in office after 12 years. “We have shown to the world our democracy is mature. I will be the president of all the Senegalese,” said Sall, a former prime minister for Wade who acrimoniously split from his mentor in 2008.
Wade, 85, in power since 2000, began his career as president with a sterling democratic reputation but drew criticism for failing to improve the lives of citizens and for seeking to extend his rule with a third term, setting off street protests in which six people were killed. “Senegal, through a transparent election, just proved once again that it remains a great democracy,” Wade’s spokesman Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye said. Sall, 50, had campaigned on lowering the cost of living for Senegalese. Senegal is the only nation in mainland West Africa not to have experienced a coup or civil war since independence.
Compiled from Reuters and AP stories by the Daily News staff.