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Ruling Senegalese Party Official Predicts Wade Re-Election Victory

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, February 27, 2012. Wade was locked in a tight race with his main rival, Macky Sall, on Monday as unofficial vote tallies pointed to a possible run-off between the two

A leading member of the ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) said the party will redouble its efforts to ensure President Abdoulaye Wade emerges victorious in the second round of the presidential election.

Mamadou Mountaga Gueye warned opposition presidential candidates that writing off Wade’s third term re-election prospect will be at their own peril.

“President Wade will come back to show that he has achieved a lot of big projects,” said Gueye. “The people of Senegal will also see that [opposition leader] Macky Sall was his student, and all the types of jobs that Macky Sall accomplished when he was in the government [were] through Abdoulaye Wade’s decision and orientation.”

Macky Sall is one of the two opposition candidates who served in President Wade’s government as prime minister.

Gueye insists Senegal needs seasoned hands to handle the challenges the country faces.

“Macky Sall was a student of Abdoulaye Wade and we don’t want to give the country to a student. We have to give it to the person who has experience who led Senegal from 2000 to the emerging country it is today,” said Gueye.

Results so far released by the electoral commission show none of the 14 presidential aspirants, including Wade, won the first round of Sunday’s presidential election.

Opposition candidates previously vowed not to support Wade for his third term bid in a run-off vote.

A coalition of opposition and civil society groups, known as M23, initiated talks Wednesday aimed at forming an alliance to defeat Wade.

Analysts say an opposition alliance in the run-off vote will end Wade’s controversial third-term bid. But, Gueye warned it would be a political suicide for the opposition to write-off Wade’s re-election prospects in the second round. He highlighted divisions within opposition ranks as one that Wade could exploit.

“Even some of the opposition leaders and their members trying to defeat President Wade, they don’t agree because there are some of them who do not want to [support] Macky Sall, because it will be the end of their political carrier. But, supporting Abdoulaye Wade will help them to have a chance in the future. That’s why we have to be careful about all those opposition declarations,” said Gueye.

Gueye also said it is unlikely that all of the opposition supporters will abide by their leader’s alliance support for Sall.

He said Wade is a skillful political operative capable of striking a deal with some of the opposition parties to join him in his re-election effort.

“President Abdoulaye Wade is a big politician and he knows how to negotiate and [I] am sure he can change things from now till the second round of election,” said Gueye. “If you look at the Socialist Party, they won’t have any anything if they support Macky Sall. But, if they support Wade, they will have a position in the next government, while they continue to work for their own party.”