Supporters jubilate as 44-year-old candidate Faye leads in Senegal presidential election

Initial outcomes from Senegal’s presidential election reveal opposition figure Bassirou Diomaye Faye leading the race, sparking exuberant festivities among his backers nationwide.

After the polls closed on Sunday, about five of the 19 contenders issued statements acknowledging the unfolding results and extending congratulations to 44-year-old Faye for his apparent lead.

Yet, caution was advised by former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, representing the ruling coalition, who urged against premature revelry. Ba highlighted the potential need for a run-off election to determine the eventual victor.

In a statement from Ba’s campaign, they expressed assurance in their own evaluation of the results, affirming, “We firmly believe that, at worst, we will proceed to a run-off, based on the feedback provided by our team of experts.”

Millions took part in a peaceful day of voting to elect Senegal’s fifth president following three years of unprecedented political turbulence that sparked violent anti-government protests and buoyed support for the opposition.
At stake is the potential end of an administration led by outgoing President Macky Sall that has promoted investor-friendly policies but failed to ease economic hardship in one of coup-prone West Africa’s more stable democracies.
Voters had a choice of 19 contenders to replace Sall, who is stepping down after a second term marred by unrest over the prosecution of firebrand opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and concerns that the president wanted to extend his mandate past the constitutional limit.
The incumbent was not on the ballot for the first time in Senegal’s history. His ruling coalition picked Ba, 62, as its candidate.
About 7.3 million people were registered to vote in the country of around 18 million. Turnout was at around 71 per cent, according to state television RTS.

READ ALSO: Senegal braces for high-stakes presidential election amidst political turmoil

Election Day ran smoothly with no major incidents reported.
The first set of tallies announced on television showed Faye had won the majority of votes, triggering widespread street celebrations in the capital Dakar.
Jubilant supporters gathered in Sonko’s neighbourhood as supporters set off fireworks, waved Senegalese flags, and blew vuvuzelas.
At least five opposition candidates later declared Faye the winner, effectively conceding defeat. They included one of the main contenders, Anta Babacar Ngom, who wished Faye success as leader of Senegal in a statement.
It was not clear how many of the 15,633 polling stations have been counted so far, according to Reuters.
Final provisional results are expected by Tuesday. A second round of voting will only take place if no candidate secures the more than 50 per cent majority required to prevent a runoff.

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