The Senegalese President Macky Sall has been officially re – elected to a second term in office after the country’s Constitutional Council confirmed his win in the February 24 elections with 58.26% of the vote.
Opposition candidates earlier rejected reports of an out-right victory for Macky Sall, saying their tallies pointed to a second round of voting, but they didn’t challenge the official results. This led to the apex court of the country to have a final say on the election result, which finally led to the confirmation of the incumbent’s re-election.
Provisional results announced by Senegal’s Electoral Commission last week showed that Sall, a former prime minister, gained more than 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off election.
Sall had 2,555,426 representing 58.26%, Idrissa Seck got 899,556 representing 20.51%. Ousmane Sonko polled 687,523 or 15.67%, Madické Niang, 65,021 or 1.48% and El Hadji Sall also had 178,613, representing 4.07%, said Chief Clerk, Ernestine Ndèye Sanka.
The Constitutional Council also confirmed that runner-up Idrissa Seck secured 21 percent of the votes, while Ousmane Sonko came third with 16 percent.
“This renewed trust motivates me to work twice as hard, to do more and better,” Macky Sall told a crowd of reporters gathered at the presidential palace on Tuesday. He has also announced that, his swearing-in ceremony would take place on April 2.
Sall, whose first term lasted seven years, will now serve a second term of five years after a 2016 referendum approved shorter presidential terms. However, political opponents and Human Rights groups like Amnesty International raised concerns over what they describe as “unfair trials” that barred two of his major challengers from running.
The former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall (no relation), is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for embezzling $3.2 million in public funds and Karim Wade, the son of President Sall’s predecessor, has been living in exile in Qatar since 2017 after serving half of his six-year jail time.
Sall quickly rose on the national Senegalese political scene, following his mentor former president Abdoulaye Wade. He held the position of prime minister from April 2004 to June 2007 then president of the national assembly from June 2007 to November 2008 – when a conflict with Wade led to his dismissal.
His first term was marked by a $7.5 billion economic development plan dubbed “Emergent Senegal” aimed at spurring economic growth. The ambitious scheme, which has entailed building a new airport, train line and motorway for capital Dakar, is credited with boosting the country’s economic growth to more than six percent – one of the highest in Africa.