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Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Politics

Senegal opposition candidate Faye won 54 percent in presidential vote

Bassirou Diomaye Faye holds a news conference after winning the presidential elections in Dakar, Senegal, Monday, March 25, 2024 [Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP]

Opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye won more than 54 percent of votes in Senegal’s presidential election, the Dakar appeals court has said.

The court said on Wednesday the provisional results were based on vote tallies from 100 percent of polling stations. The results are expected to be confirmed by the Constitutional Council in the coming days.

Faye’s victory came just 10 days after he was freed from prison. The 44-year-old victor has said he wants a “break” with the current political system, and is set to become the youngest president in Senegal’s history.

The court said ruling coalition candidate Amadou Ba took more than 35 percent of the vote, and third-placed candidate Aliou Mamadou Dia won 2.8 percent.

Senegal’s outgoing President Macky Sall earlier congratulated Faye, saying his win is “a victory for Senegalese democracy”.

Analysts said his win reflected a protest against the outgoing leadership and divisions within a powerful, but weakened, governing coalition.

Faye’s message has been particularly popular among young voters in a country where more than 60 percent of people are under 25 and struggle to find jobs.

Millions in Senegal took part in the vote to elect the country’s fifth president.

The polls followed three years of political turbulence that led to violent antigovernment protests, which garnered greater support for the opposition.

Dozens have been killed and hundreds arrested since 2021, with Faye himself detained and only released in the middle of the election campaign.

A peaceful transition of power in Senegal would mark a turn for democracy in West Africa, where there have been eight military coups since 2020.

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