With less than one week to go until Senegal’s presidential runoff, the campaign’s narrative since the end of the first round has consistently been one of the opposition mobilizing behind the candidacy of former prime minister Macky Sall and against current president Abdoulaye Wade.
Wade won the first round of the election on February 26 with 34.8% of the vote to Sall’s 26.6%.
In the meanwhile, all 12 of the defeated candidates have endorsed Sall, including former prime minister Moustapha Niasse, who finished in third place, Parti Socialiste candidate Ousamne Tanor Dieng, who finished in fourth place and Idrissa Seck, also a former prime minister, who finished in fifth place. Sall, together with the 12 former candidates, joined for a rally last Sunday in Obelisk Square in Dakar, the site of several violent anti-Wade protests in advance of the first round vote. Sall and the former candidates have formed the makeshift Alliance of Forces for Change in advance of Sunday’s runoff.
Prominent — and popular — Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, who was refused a spot on the ballot in advance of the first round, has endorsed Sall as well. And so has the M23 movement, by and large — the loose coalition that came together to oppose Wade’s arguably unconstitutional run for a third term. Although the M23 movement did not endorse any first-round candidate, it has mobilized behind Sall as the anti-Wade candidate.
The tense and sometimes violent protests leading up the the first round have now largely replaced by a triumphant opposition confident of victory. Sall is popular in both Dakar and the countryside, and, with so much of the opposition to Wade lining up behind Sall, it seems more likely than not that Sall will win the runoff. Continue reading Senegal turns to runoff vote