Hardly twelve hours after polls closed on Sunday, Senegal’s ruling party and the opposition have started declaring unofficial results indicating a first round victory, and a stalemate leading to an election run-off respectively.
Over 6 million Senegalese are registered to vote in Sunday’s presidential election pitting incumbent president Macky Sall against four other aspirants.
Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. (0800 GMT) and close at 6 p.m, while official results are due out on Friday, with a run-off for the top two on March 24 if no one secures a majority.
As part of the special election coverage, we will keep you posted with all the latest developments on election day in Senegal.
Quick facts about election
- 11th presidential election since independence in 1960
- Five presidential candidates
- Incumbent president Macky Sall seeking second term
- 6,148,169 registered voters
- Oldest candidate is Madicke Niang (65)
- Youngest candidate is Ousmane Sonko (44)
Scroll down to read about the following:
- Updates on election results
- Updates from voters on social media
- Recap of political campaigns and pledges
- Electoral laws and regulations
- What candidates said after voting
- Initial election observer reports
Electoral body cautions politicians
Senegal’s electoral body cautioned politicians against declaring presidential results, following counter claims of satisfactory performance at the polls by the ruling party and the opposition.
The commission “calls on candidates and their supporters, as well as civil society actors and the population, to refrain from any premature statements on the results”, it said in a statement.
The president of the National Voting Registration Commission (CNRV) responsible for proclaiming provisional official results at the national level, Demba Kandji, indicated that it would be able to do so “Thursday or Friday at the latest”.
The final results are the responsibility of the Constitutional Council, which is responsible for examining any appeals.
Participation in the elections, which took place without major incidents according to the various election observation missions, was 68% after counting two thirds of the ballots, according to a source close to the Ministry of the Interior.
Opposition envisions a run-off
Earlier statements from main opposition candidates Ousmane Sonko, a former tax inspector popular with youth, and Idrissa Seck, a third-time contender and former prime minister indicated that a second round of voting was on the cards.
“The results compiled so far allow us to say this,” Seck said at a press conference with Sonko.
“We will not allow the outgoing president to suppress the will of the people.”
Official results are due by Friday (March 1) at the latest with a run-off for the top two on March 24 if no one secures a majority.
The opposition also warned against illegal declaration of results, calling on religious and traditional authorities to reason with Sall.
“At the current stage of the vote and the tally, no candidate, I say clearly, no candidate, myself included, can proclaim themselves winners of this presidential election,’‘ said Sonko.
“We have abstained from proclaiming any results whatsoever and we have noticed that some press organisation, including foreign press, have given themselves the right to give first round results – that is totally unacceptable.”
Macky Sall’s camp claims victory
While incumbent president Macky Sall’s camp has claimed an assured victory in the first round, the opposition say their own figures indicate a possible run-off.
Prime Minister Mahammed Dionne, a Sall ally and appointee, said early results showed Sall had won 13 out of 14 regions, securing 57 percent of the vote.
“We must congratulate the president for his re-election in the first round,” Dionne told journalists.
Polls closed at 6pm local time as scheduled, after what was relatively an incident-free voting day.
Vote counting is now underway at the polling units across the country.
Official results are due out on Friday with a run-off for the top two on March 24 if no one secures a majority.
EU raises early red flag
The European Union observer mission head, Helena Valentiana told journalists there was ‘not enough control of inked fingers’ in the first hours of voting.
According to BBC Afrique, Valentiana said it was too early to assess the conduct of the election across the country, she expressed concern that the lapse in control of inked fingers could lead to cases of multiple voting.
Idrissa Seck casts his vote
Former prime minister Idrissa Seck also reiterated calls for peace after casting his vote in his stronghold of Thies.
“My prayers and wishes are that the elections take place peacefully, serenely and calmly and that the profound desire for change expressed by the people throughout this electoral campaign may not encounter any obstacle.”
The leader of the Rewmi (‘The Country’) party is representing the Idy Coalition 2019 in this year’s ballot.
Sonko votes, also calls for peace
44-year-old Ousmane Sonko cast his vote in his stronghold city of Ziguinchor, urging his supporters to uphold peace throughout the electoral process.
Ziguinchor is the largest city in the southern Casamance region, which is rich in agricultural and mining resources.
“Our most precious raw material is peace,” said Sonko after casting his vote.ALSO READ: Meet Senegal’s youngest presidential candidate, Ousmane Sonko
President calls for peaceful voting
Speaking after he cast his vote, the president called upon Senegalese to undertake their civic duty of voting peacefully.
‘’ I urge you to do your civic duty in peace and serenity to decide what we will do with the next five years,’‘ president Sall said in a tweet posted on his official account.
Chers Sénégalais, ce jour de scrutin est un moment important de la vie démocratique. C’est l’illustration de la souveraineté populaire. Je vous exhorte à accomplir votre devoir citoyen dans la paix et la sérénité pour décider de ce que nous ferons des cinq prochaines années. MS pic.twitter.com/mHXm9uCAWl— Macky Sall (@Macky_Sall) February 24, 2019
At least one person was killed this month in clashes between Sall’s backers and his opponents in the southeastern city of Tambacounda, but campaigning has been largely peaceful.
Macky Sall votes
President Macky Sall cast his vote on Sunday morning, at a polling station in his hometown of Fatick.
Key candidates, strengths
- Incumbent president Macky Sall; strong economic growth in first term
- Idrissa Seck; hoping to be third time lucky having lost in 2007 and 2012
- Ousmane Sonko; banking on youth support, and agitation for change
What is at stake?
- The winner of the presidential election will be handed a 5-year mandate to lead Senegal.
- To win in the first round, a candidate must attain a majority of 50% of votes cast plus one.
NJAAY (@omzondiaye) February 24, 2019
GUISSE (@guissey) February 24, 2019