Senegal’s Presidential Elections Narrow Down to Two Candidates: Faye and Ba

Opposition candidate closing in on victory in Senegal elections

In the first round of Senegal’s presidential elections, anti-system candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye appeared close to a victory. Four other candidates, including Anta Babacar Ngom and Dthi Fall, congratulated Faye on Sunday after observing the vote count trends. Faye had a clear advantage over former prime minister Amadou Ba, who was supported by the ruling coalition.

Although no official results are expected until the end of the week, hundreds of supporters gathered at Faye’s campaign headquarters to celebrate his apparent victory. Meanwhile, Ba’s headquarters had a subdued atmosphere with a few dozen supporters. Nearly 7.3 million people were called to the polls to elect the successor of outgoing president Macky Sall. In a country known for its stability, Ba and Faye emerged as favorites in a field of 17 candidates.

The ruling coalition supporting Ba is certain there will be a runoff if no candidate obtains an absolute majority. Senegal has strong relations with the West while Russia is strengthening its position in surrounding countries. The country has recently experienced instability through several coups d’état, with the last-minute postponement of elections initially scheduled for February leading to violence and uncertainty before finally being held on March 24 during Ramadan month.

The campaign was reduced to two weeks and became a pivotal moment in Senegal’s democracy as it tackled persistent issues like poverty, unemployment, debt, and migration head-on. The incumbent president did not run for re-election, leaving the field open for candidates like Ba and Faye to bring change if elected. Faye is considered a candidate of system change and left-wing Pan-Africanism who aims to bring a new era to Senegal if elected amid promises from both candidates about continuity or change in leadership.

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