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Senegal’s ruling coalition presidential hopeful recognises opposition Faye’s victory

Senegal’s governing coalition candidate Amadou Ba on Monday recognised a win by anti-establishment candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye in the first-round of presidential elections and offered his congratulations, a statement said

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“Considering the trends of the presidential election results and awaiting the official declaration, I congratulate the president Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye on his victory in the first round,” Ba said in the statement.

The concession came a day after Senegal’s presidential election Sunday, which followed months of uncertainty and unrest that tested the West African nation’s reputation as a stable democracy in a region rife with coups. 

This is Senegal’s fourth democratic transfer of power since gaining independence from France more than six decades ago. It took place one month later than initially scheduled after President Macky Sall tried to delay it until the end of the year. Sall is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term and is expected to step down on April 2 when his mandate ends. 

After the polls closed Sunday, voters praised the peaceful outcome amid concerns after months of deadly protests ignited last summer by the jailing of the popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and concerns that the president wanted to stay in power. Rights groups said dozens were killed, while hundreds more were jailed.

In a move that defused tensions just ahead of the election, Sonko was released after months in prison along with Faye, to jubilant celebrations on the streets of Dakar. Sonko was barred from the race in January due to a prior conviction and Faye ran in his place.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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