News

    Senegal's Wade Concedes Electoral Defeat, Draws Praise

    Supporters of Senegalese opposition challenger Macky Sall celebrate their candidates election victory in Dakar, March 25, 2012.
    Supporters of Senegalese opposition challenger Macky Sall celebrate their candidates election victory in Dakar, March 25, 2012.
    Anne Look

    Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has conceded defeat in Sunday's presidential runoff election, winning praise from the international community, and his own people.

    On Monday, ssupporters of opposition leader Macky Sall continued their celebrations as unofficial results showed the opposition leader trouncing Wade in Sunday's vote.

    The incumbent president telephoned Sall Sunday evening to congratulate him, just three-and-a-half hours after polls closed.

    Sall held a press conference late Sunday night, hailing his victory as a new era for Senegal. He saluted his allies and supporters, as well as those who voted for Wade. Sall also declared he will be the president for all Senegalese and quickly get to work to meet their immense expectations.

    The great winner of this election remains the Senegalese people, he said.

    Senegal has long been an anchor of stability in a part of the world more commonly overrun by military coups, election-related violence and "presidents for life."

    Despite deadly protests ahead of the first round of voting on February 26, Sunday's vote was calm. Wade's concession of defeat was met by an almost palpable sigh of relief.

    French president Nicolas Sarkozy called the move a "testimony to Mr. Wade's commitment to democracy" in an open letter to the president.

    The cloud of tension that has hung over Dakar in recent months seemed to evaporate Monday. The president's supporters and opponents alike say they are ready to forgive and forget.

    Macky Sall

    • Age: 50
    • Former protege of outgoing President Wade
    • Served as prime Minister 2004 - 2007
    • Mayor of his hometown of Fatick
    • Fell out with president after his son, Karim Wade, was called to parliament to answer questions
    • Formed the Alliance for the Republic Party in 2008
    • Backed by all main opposition candidates in 2nd round

    But some Wade supporters were clearly disappointed. Ngefa Diouf said the incumbent president feels like a father to her.

    Wade did many good things, Diouf said, but perhaps it was his time to go and allow a new generation to take over. She also expressed pride that he conceded so quickly.  Senegalese, she said, will remember the president well.

    At 85 years of age, Wade is Africa's second oldest leader. Sall is more than three decades his junior.

    Sall is the president's former political protege. He held various high level government posts before a falling out with his mentor in late 2008.  

    The entirety of Senegal's previously scattered opposition united behind Sall for the second-round vote. He hit the right notes with voters, promising from his first days in office to reduce the price of daily food goods like rice, sugar and cooking oil. He pledged to decentralize power in the government and audit the country's finances.

    Twenty-six-year-old Mame Diaby said the youth are behind Sall. Life is too expensive, she said, and they want change.

    Wade was seeking a controversial third term. He came to power in 2000 on a tide of popular support. But electricity cuts, unemployment and rising food prices have since disenchanted many Senegalese.

    The increasingly prominent role of the president's son, Karim, was another point of contention.

    Wade's greatest political misstep was acting as if the state belonged to him and his family, said analyst and opposition strategist Latif Coulibaly. When Wade made his son a government minister, he said, the Senegalese were shocked, having never known a dynastic style of rule.

    Wade does not look prepared to leave politics altogether. In a written statement, he called on ruling party supporters to regroup ahead of June's legislative elections.

    Senegal's electoral commission is expected to announce official provisional results of Sunday's vote later this week.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 4
        Next 
    by: nyadengawamuvazhi
    April 20, 2012 5:31 PM
    i wish if this wind can blow from senegal into my contry may be i can woke up one day going to work new ideas politically can open up some long shut factories

    by: abdul
    March 28, 2012 5:26 PM
    What did the current president forgot to take at the presidential palace that he wanted to stay forever?????

    by: Godwin
    March 27, 2012 8:11 AM
    Wade did it too late. The text should read that he was disgraced out of a sit-tight agenda. Why do Africans and Arabs love power so much and think only them have the prerogative of wisdom to rule? At age 85, is only to die in the govt house, what they refer to as active service, the way to be a national hero? To hell with all heads of states, presidents and leaders of African govts; they are either there with just the agenda to rule, or they become bigger than their countries; nothing more.

    by: Xaaji Dhagax
    March 26, 2012 9:45 AM
    Hallelujah! Senegal is not Kenya, Zimbabwe or Ivory Coast. This is victory for democracy and the people of Africa. Thank you Mr. wade and thank you Mr. Salle. And congratulations for the people of Senegal.

    by: General
    March 26, 2012 9:25 AM
    It is about time Africa leaders[incubent] concead election results.
    Before,during and post election voilence are mostly caused by greedy Africa leaders who do not suceed in manupulating electoral process to have their way.Mr Wade thanks for saving many lives.

    by: abdulai bah
    March 26, 2012 9:24 AM
    Senegal has always been an example to the rest of Africa. It will be wise to reduce AU membership to only countries that are truly respecting the democratic values. Then the others will copy best practice. Wow! Senegal

    by: Nade
    March 26, 2012 8:50 AM
    Bravo to the Senegalese for this wise decision made in favor of their country. President elect Sall, please do not arrest former President Wade after he shall have left office. This is one reason many African Presidents do not want to leave power. Once more congrats to the people of Senegal

    by: Jenny Webster
    March 26, 2012 8:18 AM
    Thank you Abdoulaye Wade. You have done many good things for your country and we are proud of you for stepping aside peacefully.

    by: DT
    March 26, 2012 7:56 AM
    I've always wanted to travel to Senegal. This makes me more determined to visit.

    by: USA
    March 26, 2012 7:36 AM
    senegalese people once again showed Africa, the world that they are a mature , peaceful people
    Comments page of 4
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora