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Senegal’s Ruling Party Pleased with Peaceful Election

  • Peter Clottey

A man votes during Senegal's presidential election in the capital Dakar, February 26, 2012.

A man votes during Senegal's presidential election in the capital Dakar, February 26, 2012.

A spokesman for Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade’s re-election campaign said the ruling party is satisfied with the peaceful conduct of Sunday’s presidential election.

Amadou Sall expressed confidence that the opposition presidential candidates will accept the outcome of the vote, despite weeks of violent demonstrations. The protests, organizers say, were aimed to pressure Wade to step down and relinquish power.

“We are all happy because all Senegalese, whatever party they support, are very proud of what we did in this country because we were able to effectively organize a peaceful election,” said Sall. “We organized [a] fair and transparent election and the people of Senegal have voted to choose who will win the election.”

Wade’s re-election campaign team predicted the incumbent leader will win the first round of voting. But, analysts say, provisional results so far released by the electoral commission shows none of the presidential candidates, including the incumbent, will win the first round of the election.

Several opposition candidates say they could form an alliance if none of them emerges victorious.

“We expected to win the first round. It was our hope, but the Senegalese people will decide when all the votes are countered,” said Sall. “If they decide that President Wade should win at the first round then he will win, and if they decide that we will have a second round then we will have a second round.”

Some Senegalese expressed concern about violence if Wade’s supporters are perceived to have attempted to rig the vote. But, Sall dismissed those concerns as without merit.

Wade was booed Sunday as he cast his ballot in his home precinct. The incumbent leader was challenged by 13 other candidates, including Idrissa Seck and Macky Sall, both of whom served as prime minister under Wade.

Sall said that Wade and his re-election campaign will accept the final results of Sunday’s presidential vote.

“All Senegalese will accept the results of the peaceful election, even though some candidates will protest,” said Sall. “The person that has the highest vote count will win. Maybe it will be [Mr.] Abdoulaye Wade, maybe it will be another guy or candidate. But, what I’m sure about is that all Senegalese people will accept the results of the election because the election was free and fair.”

Sall said the presence of both local and international poll observers and voters’ vigilance ensured Sunday’s vote was credible.

Wade has faced violent opposition protests in his bid for a court-approved third term, despite a two-term constitutional limit. At least six people were killed in the pre-election violence. Some protesters said the deaths were the result of a police crackdown aimed at silencing dissent.

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