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IMAGO / Le Pictorium

Country Reports

New president with an absolute majority

Senegal has great expectations of Bassirou Diomaye Faye

Senegal has elected a new president: Political newcomer Bassirou Diomaye Faye will be the country's youngest president to date. He was the strong favourite in this election and, according to provisional figures, won 57% of the votes. This election result represents a dream come true for the young Senegalese. A man of the people, without the potentially burdensome vita of an experienced politician, has now been entrusted with the fate of the country for the next five years. Faye's programme stands for a replacement of the establishment, more opportunities for young people and social and economic inclusion. After the election, the vision will now meet political reality.

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The population of Senegal followed the turbulent election campaign of the 19 candidates[1], which lasted almost 12 days, with great excitement. Apart from a few scuffles between supporters of rival camps, the campaigns were generally peaceful. Election day itself last Sunday was also peaceful[2]. The EU, ECOWAS and the African Union alone sent 889 observers[3]; a further 1568 observers were provided by national organizations. Of the approximately 7.3 million voters, around 60% went to the polls.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye becomes the new president of Senegal. He is the country's youngest president to date[4]. He was the big favorite in this election and, according to preliminary figures, won 57% of all votes. Amadou Ba, the candidate of the ruling coalition and until recently the country's prime minister, only managed to win around 31% of the vote. Khalifa Sall received 3 % and Mamadou Dia 2.6 %. All other 15 candidates received less than 1 % each[5].

This election result was a dream come true, especially for young people. A man of the people, without the potentially burdensome CV of an experienced politician, has been entrusted with the fate of the country for the next five years. This is associated with great emotions and immense expectations on the part of the population. The 44-year-old former Secretary General of the PASTEF party, which was banned in 2023 following violent riots, was nominated as a candidate by Ousmane Sonko (party leader). Sonko himself was unable to run due to various convictions and was meanwhile in custody together with Faye[6]; the latter was charged with political defamation. Thanks to an amnesty law for criminal offenses in the context of the political conflicts between 2023 and 2024, which was surprisingly submitted by the government and adopted by the majority in parliament, both men were released on 14.03.24 and faced an shortened election campaign for Faye, which prompted one newspaper to write the following headline: "From prison to the government palace"[7]. The youth in particular gave candidate Faye and his shadow Sonko a jubilant reception in various regions of the country. It should be noted that the campaign management of the "DiomayePrésident" movement successfully managed to pull out all the media stops: they dominated social media like no other and very cleverly used the narrative of their program.

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[5] Dies sind vorläufige Ergebnisse, publiziert von TFM, 25.03.2024


[7] Walfquotidien, S. 3, Résultats provisoires, De la prison au palais de la République

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Anna Wasserfall

Anna Wasserfall bild

Policy Advisor for West Africa and Digital Formats Sub-Saharan Africa +49 30 26996-3679

Caroline Hauptmann

Caroline Hauptmann (2020)

Leiterin des Auslandsbüros Senegal +221 33 8697778 +221 33 8602430


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