Senegal President Macky Sall wins re-election

Macky Sall has secured a solid majority of votes, winning a second term without the need for a run-off vote. The four losing challengers disputed the result, but said they would not challenge him in court.


Senegalese President Macky Sall has won re-election with 58.27% of votes cast in last Sunday’s poll, according to Judge Demba Kandji, president of Senegal’s National Census of Votes Commission.

The solid majority hands Sall a second term without the need for a second round of voting.

According to the results, leading opposition candidate Idrissa Seck took 20.50% of the vote while Ousmane Sonko had 15.67%.

There was speculation that the losers could legally challenge Sall’s win. Earlier in the week they had disputed unofficial results which gave Sall a comfortable victory.

In the event, second-placed Seck said on behalf of all four losing candidates on Thursday: “We strongly and unreservedly reject this result,” but added they would “not appeal to the Constitutional Council.”

“It is clear that the incumbent has confiscated the will of the sovereign people and will be the only one to bear the consequences before the people and before history,” added Seck, who said he was speaking on behalf of Sonko and the other two losing candidates: Madicke Niang and Issa Sall.

Ahead of the vote, observers had indicated Macky Sall’s chances of winning a second round runoff with his nearest contender were slim. Therefore the aim was to gain victory in the first round, which he did. Should he have faced a second-round challenge, all the remaining candidates would have been likely to back his opponent.

Excluded contenders

The election was also marred by allegations in January that the presidency had effectively blocked two prominent opposition politicians from taking part: Dakar’s former mayor, Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade, the son of longtime President Abdoulaye Wade, who Sall (no relation to Khalifa Sall) ousted from office in 2012.

Both Khalifa Sall and Wade were jailed for corruption and barred from running by the Constitutional Council. Their convictions have been questioned by rights’ groups.

Economic concerns

Senegal is a major exporter of fish and peanuts, and gained independence from France in 1960.

There has been some criticism of Sall’s economic record over the last seven years, which has seen a number of expensive infrastructure projects carried out by foreign companies.

These include the Sendou coal power plant project in Bargny which allegedly deprived local people of their land. In 2017, the Emirati port operator, Dubai Port World said it would invest $30-million in the construction of a second port in Bargny, which is about 30 kilometres south of Dakar.

The 45-kilometre Dakar-Diamniadio Highway cut the journey between the city and its suburb from 90 to 30 minutes, but also badly affected small businesses which had operated and traded alongside the old road. The airport served by the Dakar-Diamnadio Road opened in 2017.

In the previous election, Sall had promised to create half a million jobs during his seven-year term and claimed without evidence that he did create 491 000 between 2012 and 2018. A change to the constitution means Sall will only serve 5 years for his second term as president. — DW

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