News

    Senegal Votes in Tight Presidential Run-off

    President Abdoulaye Wade casts his ballot for president at a polling station in Dakar, Senegal, Sunday, March 25, 2012.
    President Abdoulaye Wade casts his ballot for president at a polling station in Dakar, Senegal, Sunday, March 25, 2012.
    Anne Look

    Senegal has held a tightly-contested presidential run-off election between its 85-year-old president and a rival who has the backing of a dozen other opposition leaders.

    Voters formed long lines in the capital, Dakar, on Sunday for a poll that analysts say could threaten the stability of one of Africa's most peaceful democracies.

    President Abdoulaye Wade faces stiff competition from opposition leader, Macky Sall, as the incumbent tries to win a controversial third mandate.

    Analysts say the election could threaten the stability of one of Africa's most celebrated and peaceful democracies.

    Senegalese presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Macky Sall speaks to journalists during an interview at his home in Dakar, Saturday, March 24, 2012.
    Senegalese presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Macky Sall speaks to journalists during an interview at his home in Dakar, Saturday, March 24, 2012.

    A voter in Dakar says they want this election to be peaceful.  No matter who the people choose, she will support whoever wins.  She says they are hearing rumors that there could be trouble, and she is praying that all will go well.

    The days leading up to the vote were calm, however many worry that disputes over results could reignite street protests.

    The incumbent, Abdoulaye Wade, is seeking a third term, despite a constitutional two-term limit passed after he first took office in 2000.  The Constitutional Court ruled that he could run in late January, sparking riots that killed at least six people ahead of the first round poll on February 25.

    Mr. Wade led that round with 35 percent of votes, followed by Macky Sall who won just under 27 percent.

    Senegalese have become increasingly disenchanted with Mr. Wade since the former champion of the opposition came to power in 2000 and won re-election in the first round in 2007.

    The 85-year-old president, Africa's second-oldest leader, says he needs more time in office to finish his projects, including a new airport outside Dakar.

    Addressing supporters, Mr. Wade says "help me help you!"  He says "you know very well that I am a man who takes on challenges."  He says "I will face every challenge with you."

    Mr. Wade's critics say he has focused too much on large infrastructure projects and not enough on the daily difficulties of the Senegalese.

    The president denies allegations that he is trying to secure power for his unpopular son and government minister, Karim.

    Macky Sall served in Mr. Wade's government as mining minister, prime minister and president of the National Assembly.  He ran Mr. Wade's campaign in 2007.  Mr. Sall only left the ruling party in late 2008.

    He has been quick to distance himself from his former mentor, promising to reform the government and reduce the cost of daily food necessities.

    At a campaign rally, Mr. Sall says he himself experienced the arrogance of the people in power and the president's dynastic conception of rule.  He says he thought it was that important to stand and fight back, depending only on the people of Senegal.  He says the people are sovereign, and he will serve them.

    Mr. Sall has the backing of the 12 other opposition candidates from the first round, as well as popular musicians like Youssou N'dour and the anti-government rap group, "Y'en a Marre," or "We've had enough."

    Cheikh Ka says he voted for another candidate before, but he says they are all now backing Macky Sall because they are tired.  He says the country has had enough of Mr. Wade.

    However, the two politicians' shared history is a stumbling block for some voters.

    Awa Laye Fall says she will vote for Macky Sall, not because he is better but because he is all they have.  She says they want Mr. Wade out, but she does not trust Mr. Sall.  She says she does not think he is that different.

    Mr. Sall has run an energetic, populist campaign. President Abdoulaye Wade has prioritized one-on-one visits in regional centers aimed at picking off opposition heavyweights at the local level.  He has also secured the backing of influential leaders in the country's Muslim Mouride brotherhood.

    Both candidates say they are confident of victory. The electoral commission has called on them to abstain from premature declarations of results in the interest of preserving calm.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora