Sene­gal’s rul­ing coali­tion claim elec­tion land­slide

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL - — AFP

The rul­ing coali­tion of Sene­gal’s Pres­i­dent Macky Sall won a widely ex­pected land­slide in a leg­isla­tive elec­tion, his prime min­is­ter said yes­ter­day, bol­ster­ing Sall’s prospects for re-elec­tion in 2019. The Benno Bokk Yakaar (BBY) coali­tion swept all ex­cept three of the coun­try’s 45 elec­toral de­part­ments, said Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hammed Boun Ab­dal­lah Dionne, speak­ing to the pub­lic Sene­galese press agency APS ahead of the of­fi­cial re­lease of re­sults.

The rul­ing coali­tion “emerged vic­to­ri­ous” fol­low­ing the vote on Sun­day, Dionne said, while the turnout was 54 per­cent among Sene­gal’s 6.2 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers, an in­crease on vot­ing in 2012. Dionne said op­po­si­tion coali­tion lists were likely to be ahead in the de­part­ments of Ke­dougou, Saraya and pos­si­bly Mbacke, but oth­er­wise the BBY list of can­di­dates “had been voted in by the Sene­galese peo­ple”.

The of­fi­cial re­sults are ex­pected later this week. Some com­plained of be­ing left off the elec­toral rolls on Sun­day, and there were de­lays to vot­ing in sev­eral places, partly due to bad weather. Sall’s main threat to in­creas­ing his power in par­lia­ment was posed by ex-leader Ab­doulaye Wade, 91, who was aim­ing to drum up sup­port for his own list of can­di­dates and his son, Karim, who is not on the bal­lot but has am­bi­tions for the pres­i­dency.

His other se­ri­ous op­po­nent, Dakar Mayor Khal­ifa Sall (no re­la­tion), is in jail await­ing trial for what sup­port­ers say are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated em­bez­zle­ment charges, and headed a list while cam­paign­ing from his jail cell. The mayor had been seen as a key con­tender for 2019 and a po­ten­tial threat to the pres­i­dent in par­lia­ment un­til he was charged in March with al­legedly mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing 1.83 bil­lion CFA francs ($2.85 mil­lion, 2.7 mil­lion eu­ros) in city funds.

There were a record 47 lists of can­di­dates con­test­ing the elec­tion, with 165 law­mak­ers due to take seats in par­lia­ment. Po­lice fired tear gas and ar­rested dozens dur­ing at times vi­o­lent cam­paign­ing that left sev­eral in­jured in a coun­try nor­mally known for its peace­ful demo­cratic tra­di­tions. Con­tro­versy also erupted over the fail­ure to de­liver enough new bio­met­ric ID cards needed to vote, which hun­dreds of thou­sands of Sene­galese did not re­ceived in time.


DARKAR: An elec­tion helper sits next to an urn filled with bal­lots at a polling sta­tion.

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