Incumbent wins presidential election

Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade has been elected for a second five-year term, according to the country’s electoral commission. 

It said Wade won 55.86 percent of the votes cast in last Sunday’s election. A majority over 50 percent eliminates the need for a runoff. The results must still be reviewed and confirmed by Senegal’s Constitutional Council.

Opposition candidates among the 14 who challenged Wade have complained of voting irregularities and said they will challenge the results in court. The electoral commission said former prime minister Idrissa Seck had won 14.93 percent of the vote followed by opposition Socialist Party candidate Ousmane Tanor Dieng with 13.57 percent.

There had been fears that Senegal’s election could touch off violence if the results were not unanimously accepted. Those anxieties did not materialise, although there were a few isolated incidents of violence ahead of the vote. Senegal in 2000 was among the first African countries to peacefully transition from one leader to another in democratic elections.

About five million people were eligible to vote in Sunday’s poll and turnout was high. Observers from the West African regional body ECOWAS said the poll was free and fair.

Reporters Sans Frontieres, however, said Wade had an advantage of heavy use of state media during his campaign.

Among the complaints by Wade’s opponents is his age. He is believed to be 81 years old. Should he become debilitated or die in office the constitution stipulates that the president of the National Assembly would rule the country for 90 days during which time new elections would be organised.