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EU, ECOWAS Hail Smooth Running Of Senegal Presidential Poll

The head of the EU mission, Malin Bjork, praised a "well-organised and open election that demonstrated the strength of Senegal's democratic institutions," at a separate conference.


FILE: Bassirou Diomaye Faye

 

The observation missions deployed to Senegal by the European Union and West Africa’s regional bloc on Tuesday praised the smooth running of the presidential election, won by an anti-establishment opponent after three years of unrest.

Around 7.3 million Senegalese were eligible to take part in Sunday’s vote, which saw 44-year-old Bassirou Diomaye Faye elected as the youngest president in the country’s history after his main rival and government candidate, Amadou Ba, conceded defeat.

“Voting generally went smoothly and in a largely peaceful atmosphere,” said Ibrahim Gambari, head of the mission deployed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), at a press conference in Dakar.

The head of the EU mission, Malin Bjork, praised a “well-organised and open election that demonstrated the strength of Senegal’s democratic institutions,” at a separate conference.

“On the whole, the election was well organised. Voters were able to make their choice freely in a peaceful and orderly atmosphere,” she added.

ECOWAS had deployed 130 observers and the EU another 100.

Senegal, traditionally viewed as a bastion of stability in coup-hit West Africa, is a key player in the ECOWAS bloc.

Official provisional results are due to be published this week, but Faye’s opponents in the race and outgoing President Macky Sall have already acknowledged his victory.

Since 2021, dozens have been killed and hundreds arrested in various episodes of unrest triggered partly by the stand-off between the state and opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, who backed Faye’s candidacy after being barred from the race.

Sall’s postponement of the presidential election, originally scheduled for February 25, plunged Senegal into its worst political crises in decades that left four people dead.

AFP