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Wade Declared Winner in Senegal Presidential Election


Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has been declared the winner in last Sunday's ballot by election officials who gave him nearly 56 percent of the vote. Results still need to be validated before they are final. None of his 14 challengers got more than 15 percent of vote, but some allege there was cheating on election day. Kari Barber reports from Dakar.

Speaking at his office late Thursday, Mr. Wade laid out an agenda for his second term as president, including plans to build a new airport, a new technology university and improve roads.

He said he was satisfied the campaign process was mostly peaceful.

Still, skirmishes broke out in the run-up to the election between Mr. Wade's supporters and those of opposition candidate and former prime minister Idrissa Seck, who finished second.

Mr. Wade dismissed opponents' allegations of voter fraud.

Campaign team member and president of the new university Mohamed Camara says the opposition's complaints are not unexpected. "Opposition is always like somebody you box with, you knock them out and the person says 'no, the referee cheated'," he said. "The campaign was great."

The third place candidate, Ousmane Tanor Dieng, called the elections the most corrupt the country had seen. However, international monitors and Senegalese observers said the election was free and fair.

Mr. Wade warned major opposition leaders could face probes over alleged wrongdoing when they were in government.

Senegal is often referred to as a model democracy in West Africa and is the only country in the region to have never experienced a coup. However, high unemployment has made Senegal a flashpoint for illegal migration as thousands of young men each year make the dangerous voyage by boat to Spain's Canary Islands seeking economic opportunity.

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