Senegal: Macky Sall Defeats Abdoulaye Wade, Promises a “New Era”

The winner of Senegal's presidential election, Macky Sall, has said the poll marks a "new era" for the country.


He was speaking after his rival, current President Abdoulaye Wade, admitted defeat in Sunday's run-off.


Mr Wade was seeking a third term in office, after arguing that a new two-term limit should not apply retrospectively to him.


This sparked violent protests earlier this year in the West African nation, leaving six people dead.


Official results from Sunday's election are expected within two days.


Speaking in front of thousands of cheering supporters in the capital Dakar, Mr Sall, 50, promised to be a president for all Senegalese.


He stressed that the people were the main winners in the poll.


Earlier, Mr Wade "phoned his rival Macky Sall at 21:30 GMT to congratulate him after the first results showed him to be the winner of a presidential run-off," the Senegalese Press Agency said.


Mr Wade, 85, has ruled Senegal for 12 years.


Even before Mr Wade's concession, thousands of Sall supporters began celebrating on the streets of Dakar.


They chanted "Macky president!" and "We have won!"


Former allies


Mr Wade brought in a two-term limit for presidential office, but argued that the limit should not apply retrospectively and that he could therefore seek two more terms.


After his plan was upheld by the constitutional court, six people died in violent protests.


In February's first round, Mr Wade fell short of a majority, polling only 34.8%. Mr Sall came second with 26.6%.


Mr Sall owes his political career to Mr Wade, and had held several ministry portfolios before becoming prime minister, the BBC's Thomas Fessy reports from Dakar.


But, the two men fell out over the handling of public spending by Karim Wade, the president's unpopular son, whom many believe has been trying to succeed his father, our correspondent adds.


Mr Sall has promised that, if elected, he will shorten the presidential term to five years from the current seven, and enforce a two-term limit. He has also promised to bring in measures to reduce the price of basic foodstuffs.


The new leader also faces the difficult task of tackling rising unemployment in the country, our correspondent says.


The people of Senegal have spoken

Results expected in two days