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Senegal: President Diomaye Faye appoints Ousmane Sonko as prime minister

Senegal's top opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, right, and his key ally Bassirou Diomaye Faye address supporters in Dakar, Senegal, Friday March 15, 2024.   -  
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Sylvain Cherkaoui/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


Senegal inaugurated Africa's youngest elected leader as president on Tuesday, as the 44-year-old and previously little-known Bassirou Diomaye Faye completed a dramatic ascent from prison to palace within weeks.

Last month's election tested Senegal’s reputation as a stable democracy in West Africa, a region rocked in recent years by coups and attempted coups.

Faye was released from prison less than two weeks before the vote, along with mentor and popular opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, following a political amnesty announced by outgoing President Macky Sall.

Their arrests had sparked months of protests and concerns that Sall would seek a third term in office despite term limits.

Rights groups said dozens were killed and about 1,000 were jailed.

In his first speech as president, Faye remembered those killed and arrested during the protests and promised to deliver greater sovereignty for Senegal while working to build prosperity.

“I am aware that the results of the elections express a profound desire for systemic change,” he said.

This is the first elected office for Faye, a former tax inspector.

His rise has reflected widespread frustration among Senegal's youth with the country's direction — a common sentiment across Africa, which has the world's youngest population and a number of leaders widely accused of clinging to power for decades

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