April 13, 2024

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Senegalese people vote after weeks of uncertainty

Senegalese people vote after weeks of uncertainty

Some came at dawn. Mostly due to fasting, Ramadan, nearly three hundred of them now line the courtyard of the Adja Warath Diène school in Gueule Tapée Fass-Colobane commune, one of the districts south of Dakar. All wait their turn in religious silence and under the gaze of about ten uniformed police officers. Guards stand inside classrooms that have been converted into polling booths. On Sunday March 24, 7.3 million Senegalese are called to elect a president, including 707,800 in the country's main electoral region, the Senegalese capital.

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Initially scheduled for February 25, then postponed by state President Mackie Sall, before being changed several times, the election was unprecedented in more ways than one. For the first time since the country's independence in 1960, the outgoing president is not his own successor. Nineteen candidates elected by the Constituent Assembly — two of whom withdrew in recent days but still appear on the ballot — are exceptionally open to the election.

“We need a serious break”

In the popular area Gueule Tapée, many voters express their desire for change. According to them, the fifth president dissolved in July 2023 the face of Bassirou Diomaye Faye, the main opposition party, Senegal's African Patriots for Work, Ethics and Fraternity (Pastef). And its attacks on elites, the CFA franc and multinational corporations, its positions are at odds with the continuity advocated by Amato Ba, a candidate for power and former prime minister and Macky Sall's successor.

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Also Read | The article is reserved for our subscribers Basiro Diomaye Fay, opposition presidential candidate: “I want to bring division in Senegal”

“In Senegal, unless you know someone well, even if you have a diploma, you are unlikely to occupy certain positions. Mackie Sal's rule has not changed our lives. We need a serious break.”So argues Sandrine Angela Poissy, a thirty-year-old administrative assistant who has been unemployed for four years. He will vote for Bassiro Diomae Fay.

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The former Bastep candidate, who was released from jail under amnesty a week after the start of his shortened campaign, has drawn huge praise from his party boss Usman Sonko, who lost the election following his conviction. Traditionally popular among the under-20s who represent half the population, 44-year-old Busseiro Diome Fay may also appeal to parents worried about massive unemployment – estimated at 20%.

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