Senegal Elections: Goes To The Wire 2nd Round Likely


DAKAR: Senegal looked headed for a second round of voting in unofficial results on Monday from a fraught election in which President Abdoulaye Wade is seeking a disputed third term.


The 85-year-old leader's former protege Macky Sall declared a second round inevitable in the west African nation, whose reputation as a haven of stability is on the cards after a campaign tarnished by pre-poll riots.


While the incumbent's camp warned it was too early to say whether a second round would take place, opposition newspapers were less restrained.


"Wade's world collapses, Macky snatches a second round," reported L'Observateur, echoing headlines across the front pages of the daily newspapers.


The incumbent is seeking a third term in office after circumventing a two-term limit he introduced into the constitution. He says changes extending term lengths from five to seven years made in 2008 allow him a fresh mandate.


The country's highest court upheld his argument which sparked a month of riots in one of Africa's most stable nations, leaving six dead and prompting international concern.


The defiant leader was greeted by a cacophony of boos after voting on Sunday, angrily pushing one of his bodyguards out of the way as he beat a hasty retreat without speaking to the media.


Unofficial results show he was trounced in the small polling station by another prime minister, Moustapha Niasse, with Sall placing third.


Sall, 52, who has a degree in engineering, is making a strong showing in unofficial results trickling in from polling stations.


"The figures in our possession, published in the media, and the trends from polling stations show that a second round is inevitable," the 51-year-old said in a statement published on his website.


"We have won the biggest departments in the country. We have won in each of the four departments in the Dakar region.


"I warn the sorcerer's apprentices against any attempt to confiscate the people's will. The massive rejection of the outgoing president has been shown in the results."


Sall is taking part in elections for the first time.


The mayor of the western city of Fatick fell out of favor with his former mentor Wade in 2008 after serving in several ministerial portfolios and as prime minister.


However El Hadj Amadou Sall of the incumbent's campaign team warned there were "no heavy trends" and nothing indicated that there would be a second round of voting.


While unofficial results were being released on public television and websites, the electoral commission will start announcing results on Tuesday, and has until Friday to give a final provision result.


During a tumultuous election campaign in which angry youths clashed with police on a near-daily basis in the seaside capital, the incumbent swept the country urging voters to elect him in the first round.


Analysts have said he will fare less well in a two-horse race.


"Everything is at stake in the first round, he is playing his last card. If he goes to a second round he has no chance," Dakar-based sociologist Hadiya Tandian told AFP.


Wade was cheered into power on a wave of euphoria 12 years ago, but his efforts to cling to power and line up his unpopular son Karim to succeed him dented his popularity, shown by the jeers as he voted with his son at his side.


Wade's supporters praise him for overseeing a development boom, but he is accused of focusing on prestige projects and being out of touch with the needs of the people, battling high unemployment and crippling power cuts.


The former French colony of some 13 million people is one of the continent's pioneer democracies, boasting an unbroken series of elections since independence in 1960. Unlike many of its troubled neighbors it has never suffered a coup.


Via Daily Star

Reports Have Wade Claiming Victory

The elections appear keenly contested