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Senegal's presidential frontrunners end campaigns amid ahead of vote

Boys attend presidential candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye's final campaign rally ahead of the presidential elections in Mbour, Senegal, Friday, March 22, 2024.   -  
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Mosa'ab Elshamy/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Friday was the last day of campaigning allowed in Senegal’s tightly contested election, which will take place on Sunday.

Large crowds came out in Dakar and Mbour in support of two of the favoured presidential candidates.

This race is expected to be the closest in the country’s history.

Amadou Ba, a career politician from the same political party as President Macky Sall, is going up against Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a popular young politician backed by Ousmane Sonko.

Faye and Sonko are popular among young people, who make up the vast majority of Senegal’s population. But Ba has a large base of supporters in his native Dakar.

Seydou Sarr is a young Ba supporter who worked on his campaign. “We worked a lot. We went into houses in the districts, we raised awareness, we talked with people, we told them Amadou Ba is best for them. He will be the fifth president, by the grace of god, on March 24”, he said.

Before Ba’s Friday rally, he told reporters at a Dakar press conference that he sees himself being elected on Sunday.

In Mbour, large crowds filled the Caroline Faye stadium. Kedidia Ndiaye, a Mbour resident said: “I’m here to support Diomaye [Faye]. We say that Diomaye is Sonko. We want change for the country. We are really tired”, echoing the sentiments of many young Senegalese who are angry about high unemployment levels that have pushed young people in the country to flee abroad.

With campaigns officially over, all that remains for this election is the casting of ballots – unless no candidate is able to secure more than 50% of votes, in which case a second round of voting will take place in two weeks.

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