robust mobilization for an unpredictable election | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

HASn Senegal, practically 7.3 million voters had been known as to the polls to elect their fifth president after Léopold Sédar Senghor (1960-1980), Abdou Diouf (1981-2000), Abdoulaye Wade (2000-2012) and Macky Sall ( 2012-2024). Initially scheduled for February 25, the vote was canceled earlier than being rescheduled a number of occasions for this Sunday, March 24, 2024.

For the Senegalese, the time of selection has come

Polling stations formally opened round 8 a.m. (native) all through the territory, like right here within the Ouakam district, in Dakar, the capital, the place the crowds had been seen. “Many issues remain to be resolved, particularly in the area of ​​health,” says Albert, 56, who has simply returned from Palm Sunday mass. People don't get therapy in the event that they don't pay first. There can also be schooling, he continues. My son has been registered for the reason that begin of the college yr however he has nonetheless not began courses. It shouldn’t be regular ! We want change, complains this father, who wished to stay discreet concerning the selection of his candidate.

At his aspect, his son Jean-Robert, 21, a first-time voter, little thinking about politics however motivated by the will to see the scenario in his nation evolve. “It’s my first time, so I came with my family so as not to be too lost,” he confides. It is an obligation for us, the younger individuals, to decide on our president, particularly for the longer term, he says, earlier than persevering with, I’ve a bit frustration with the disaster we skilled with the violence, I hope that the following president will have the ability to eradicate poverty, as a result of there are far too many poor individuals, idle younger individuals, new highschool graduates haven’t but began courses, the scenario could be very crucial for us, as a result of the colleges have remained closed for too lengthy,” he insists, a bit shyly.

Like different voters, this father and son had the selection amongst 19 out there ballots, together with these of two candidates who withdrew. And for the primary time within the historical past of Senegal, the outgoing president was not a candidate. Former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, 62, from the ruling Benno Bokk Dakaar (BBY) coalition, and Bassirou Diomaye Faye, 43, plan B of the African Patriots of Senegal for work, ethics and fraternity ( Pastef) dissolved final July, are thought-about the 2 favorites. The former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall, 68, might play the position of outsider on this election, with an unsure end result.

Many Senegalese individuals made the journey as quickly because the polling stations opened, simply after the morning prayer of the month of fasting earlier than dawn or after one of many Sunday morning lots.

Once they’ve voted, voters dip their finger in pink ink. This proves that they’ve voted but in addition prevents them from with the ability to vote once more in a brand new polling station.

Towards a Ba-Diomaye Faye duel?

In the Grand Yoff district, the stronghold of the opponent Khalifa Sall, who switched to the aspect of the ruling social gathering within the final legislative elections, Fatou Gueye, 29, a dealer within the casual sector got here to vote early within the morning so as to have the ability to go about his enterprise. “We want a change in the entire system,” she mentioned immediately. Before itemizing his expectations for the longer term president, together with lowering the price of dwelling. “Bassirou Diomaye Faye convinced me,” she confides. He began from the underside, he is aware of what we’re going via, after which in his program, he insisted on agriculture, and in addition the renegotiation of fishing licenses. This is an important level as a result of there may be nothing left to fish in Senegalese waters, she believes. We have to present him an opportunity, as a result of we have now already tried with the others,” says the younger lady. Ousmane Sonko is standard amongst city youth pissed off by the shortage of jobs and financial difficulties in a rustic the place greater than 60% of the inhabitants is underneath 25 years outdated.

Sira Sane votes, for her half, in the wrong way. This activist from the Alliance for the Republic (APR) supplies frank and direct assist to the federal government candidate, former Prime Minister Amadou Ba. “It’s the best choice that Macky Sall has made. He has the qualities, skills and experience necessary to lead the country. He has the best profile, she maintains, before also citing youth employment as a priority for the future president. “It must be emphasized that the president has already done a lot for education, he has a favorable record Mashallah (thanks to God)… Amadou Ba must continue this momentum.” An enthusiasm considerably spoiled when a good friend comes to inform her that she was unable to vote as a consequence of a mistake in her first title, stopping her from placing in another poll within the title of the ruling candidate. “We just lost a voice,” reacts Sira Sane.

For Mor Lo, 61, the postponements have under no circumstances affected the will of the Senegalese to vote. “It’s a right, I’ve been voting since 1988,” he says. And for me the selection is obvious: it’s Khalifa Sall, I’ve identified him for 40 years, he works for the State, I’ve confidence in his expertise,” he says. Same story with Marie-Angélique Sarr, 51 years outdated. This municipal councilor, answerable for social affairs, is an activist from the beginning, a member of Khalifa Sall's workforce. “The outgoing president did not want to leave power, but the Senegalese decided otherwise, because they are tired of the current economic situation, many young people left by sea risking their lives,” she analyzes . I imagine that Khalifa Sall has many property, corresponding to his program and his expertise. The nation must be reconciled, his candidacy is a necessity to deliver individuals collectively and younger individuals belief him,” she concludes.

“We were in a hurry to vote,” says Marie Preira, 35 years outdated. Because we want a change, there are lots of points at stake, and it is extremely troublesome to make a prediction, particularly with the rumors and echoes heard about attainable fraud, she factors out. This is why I selected to deliver my voice to Bassirou Diomaye Faye, he’s the one one who can change issues. He has no expertise however he might be nicely supported,” she believes.

Further north of the capital, within the Grand Medine district, the polling station of candidate Amadou Ba, who joined Pastef within the final legislative elections, the queue is spectacular. “Apart from Allah, nothing could stop me from coming to vote today,” says Mame Fatou Faye, 40 years outdated and a midwife. Determined, the younger lady waited patiently to vote for an hour and a half. “We were a little frustrated because of the postponements, but it wasn't any worse, everyone came with conviction,” she emphasizes. What we wish is to show to Africa and the entire world that we’re a democratic nation. What we wish is change, she provides, frankly life is simply too costly in Senegal, it's laborious, persons are poor and drained. They need to sanction their leaders.”

Coming to vote, the previous Prime Minister and candidate Amadou Ba is applauded, activists shout “presi, presi” however a number of boos are additionally heard. Not sufficient to destabilize those that advocate continuity. “There is no doubt that at the end of the day, we should know the next president of the republic,” he declared, saying he was “very confident” in his possibilities of succeeding Macky Sall.

After greater than ten hours of opening, the polling stations closed their doorways on Sunday night in Senegal. Vote counting has begun and provisional outcomes are anticipated by Tuesday, March 26. If no candidate wins greater than 50%, a runoff will happen between the principle candidates.