Accessibility links

Early Results in Senegal Election Favor Incumbent President Wade

  • Naomi Schwarz

The campaign team of Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade is claiming a first round win with more than 50 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, but his main challengers say this is not possible. Election authorities say there was a turnout of more than 70 percent, and that the vote went well. For VOA, Naomi Schwarz reports from Senegal's capital, Dakar.

Senegalese are listening to radio reports giving results from individual voting stations across the country.

Unofficial results give Mr. Wade a wide margin of victory, and late Sunday night, his campaign team declared victory.

But his challengers are not ready to concede defeat.

"These results are meaningless," said Mamadou Barry, a spokesman for Socialist Party Candidate Ousmane Tanor Dieng. "At this point we do not have the final count of the polls, and we are looking to see the entire thing before we can say really if what we have seen so far is really the real count."

He also alleges there were many irregularities in the voting process.

"We found in Fatick that they have been voting until two o'clock in the morning. Which is completely illegal. Also in Dioum, they have been voting until six o'clock," he said. "The polls should have stopped around 10 PM at the most."

Voting hours were extended Sunday at many polling centers because of delayed starts.

Kally Niang is a spokesman for the campaign of Idrissa Seck, one of the main rival candidates. Niang also says there were problems with Sunday's votes. He says that in Thiès, a city near Dakar where Seck is popular, thousands of voters never received their voting cards.

He also says that the ink used to mark the fingers of people who have voted to ensure they cannot vote a second time was not actually indelible.

"Look at my finger. I have voted yesterday now the ink is gone. Someone can vote more than one time. It is not normal," he said.

University student Arame Mouctar Ly voted for Mr. Wade, and is happy with what she is hearing on local radio stations.

"The result is wonderful," she said.

She adds that she knows many people who voted for Mr. Wade and, although there were long lines to vote, she did not see any problems.

Senegal is considered by many analysts to be a model democracy in West Africa. Mr. Wade became president in 2000 after nearly 40 years of Socialist Party rule. He had been a longtime member of the opposition.

XS
SM
MD
LG