March 25, 2012 ·5 Comments
Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade has admitted defeat in a run-off election to his rival Macky Sall, reports say.
The president conceded in a telephone call to the former prime minister.
Mr Wade, 85, was seeking a third term in office, after arguing that a new two-term limit should not apply retrospectively to him.
Mr Sall, 50, said his victory marked a “new era” for the West African nation, speaking in front of thousands of cheering supporters in Dakar.
Mr Sall promised to be a president for all Senegalese, saying that the people were the main winners in Sunday’s poll.
Official results are expected within two days.
Celebrations in Dakar
Mr Wade “phoned his rival Macky Sall at 21:30 GMT to congratulate him after the first results showed him to be the winner of a presidential run-off,” the Senegalese Press Agency said on Sunday.
Mr Wade has ruled Senegal for 12 years.
Even before Mr Wade’s concession, thousands of Sall supporters began celebrating on the streets of Dakar.
They chanted “Macky president!” and “We have won!”
Mr Wade brought in a two-term limit for presidential office, but argued that the limit should not apply retrospectively and that he could therefore seek two more terms.
After his plan was upheld by the constitutional court, six people died in violent protests.
In February’s first round, Mr Wade fell short of a majority, polling only 34.8%. Mr Sall came second with 26.6%.
Mr Sall owes his political career to Mr Wade, and had held several ministry portfolios before becoming prime minister, the BBC’s Thomas Fessy reports from Dakar.
But, the two men fell out over the handling of public spending by Karim Wade, the president’s unpopular son, whom many believe has been trying to succeed his father, our correspondent adds.
Mr Sall has promised that, if elected, he will shorten the presidential term to five years from the current seven, and enforce a two-term limit. He has also promised to bring in measures to reduce the price of basic foodstuffs.
The new leader also faces the difficult task of tackling rising unemployment in the country, our correspondent says.