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For Senegal, the much awaited presidential election has come

A supporter of presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye stands silhouetted as he attends a final campaign rally ahead of the presidential elections in Mbour, Senegal, Frid   -  
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Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


After months of procrastination and uncertainty, the Senegalese are finally going to vote in the country's presidential election. Some 7.3 million voters will go to the polls this Sunday March 24 to elect a new leader. They will have to choose between 19 candidates.

Those 19 contenders include Amadou Ba of the ruling coalition, chosen by President Macky Sall. And on the opposition side, Bassirou Diomaye of the former Pastef party, chosen by its embattled leader Ousmane Sonko, who has just been released from prison. 

There are also outsiders such as Khalifa Sall, a former government minister and former mayor of Dakar,  who could play spoilsport in this very special election, and not forgetting Anta Babacar Ngom, the only female presidential candidate. With slim chances for victory, activists say Ngom's candidacy demonstrates how women are moving ahead in the struggle for equality.

First postponed, then cancelled before being brought forward, plunging the country into an unprecedented constitutional and institutional crisis, elections campaign in this election ended Friday 22 March. Also unprecedented was the length of the election campaign: two weeks. 

Two weeks for the 19 candidates to try and convince their voters. Voters for whom the most important thing is to go to the polls peacefully and elect their 5th democratic president since independence from France in 1960. 

The opposition has warned against any electoral fraud while the authorities have given assurances for a free and fair vote: a promise for a free and transparent election that many obsevers are keen to follow in a country that's until recently had been considered to be west Africa's most stable democracy.

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