Voters line up for Senegal run-off election
Long lines looped around voting stations across Senegal, as the country prepared to vote in a run-off election Sunday to choose a new president. Opposition parties are fighting hard to foil incumbent Abdoulaye Wade’s chances for a controversial third term.
Wade faces a tough challenge from opponent Macky Sall, his former prime minister, after failing to deliver a massive first-round victory last month.
While Wade beat Sall in the first round 35 per cent to 26 per cent, Sall has a strong backing from the opposition, which some observers say could tip the scales in Sall’s favour in the second round.
While the run-up to the first-round of voting in February saw riots that left six people dead, voting on Sunday remained calm.
Sall and his wife cast their votes in their hometown of Fatick, in central Senegal. He told the AFP news agency that he was impressed with the voting turnout around the country.
“This shows that our country is a major democracy and that the Senegalese know how to make their choice responsibly,” he said.
Hopes are high for a better turnout than in the first round of elections, when only 51 per cent showed up.
An estimated 5.3 million people are registered to vote around the country.
International observers watched proceedings carefully to make sure voting ran fairly and without incident.
EU mission chief Thijs Berman urged Senegal to prove that it was a strong democracy within an often troubled region.
The last ballots will be cast at 18h00 GMT. The election commission has urged candidates not to prematurely declare victory.