Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Senegal’s President-elect pledges to fight corruption after stunning victory


DAKAR: Senegal woke up Tuesday to a new presidente­lect, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a former tax inspector and political newcomer who was released from prison just weeks ago and had inspired voters, many of them unemployed youth, with a vow to fight corruption and reform the economy.

Faye was catapulted into a presidenti­al campaign after popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from running due to a prior conviction, had backed him. As he gave his first speech as president-elect on Monday evening, it represente­d a dramatic rise for the 44-year-old who is due to be the youngest leader of the West African nation.

“I pledge to govern with humility and transparen­cy, and to fight corruption at all levels. I pledge to devote myself fully to rebuilding our institutio­ns,” he said, restating promises made during his campaign. While official results of Sunday’s vote were not yet available, the other front-runner the former prime minister who was backed by incumbent President Macky Sall had conceded defeat. Sall followed with congratula­tions, also naming Faye as the winner.

The election followed months of unrest ignited by Faye and Sonko’s arrest last year, and concerns that the president would seek a third term in office despite constituti­onal term limits. The violence shook Senegal’s reputation as a stable democracy in a region that has seen a wave of coups. Rights groups said dozens were killed in the protests, while some 1,000 people were jailed. Considered the anti-establishm­ent candidate, Faye’s campaign messages of economic reform and anticorrup­tion resonated with the youth.

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