Senegal pins its hopes on Sall after polls
26 March 2012, 17:51
Dakar – Thousands of people partying in Dakar Senegal are pinning their
hopes on Macky Sall after he defeated Abdoulaye Wade in a hotly
contended presidential elections.
Mamadou Barry, one of thousands
partying around Dakar's Place de l'Obelisque, the centre of months of
anti-Wade protests, said the country where average daily income is $3
was pinning its hopes on Sall for change.
"I voted Socialist in
the first round but I am glad Sall won. Now we have to watch him to make
sure he sticks to his promises," the 32-year-old shoe salesman said of a
perception among many that Sall - like Wade an economic liberal - must
still prove he can bring real change.
"At last, 12 years of misery over. Now we have hope of change," said Sojul Diaw, 52, a chauffeur in Dakar.
claimed victory on Monday in a hotly contended presidential election
over incumbent Wade, who quickly conceded defeat in a move that could
bolster the West African state's democratic credentials.
of residents of the capital Dakar poured onto the streets overnight,
honking car horns, beating drums and singing in hope of change after 12
years of Wade rule that has seen big infrastructure spending but little
progress in tackling poverty.
winner tonight is the Senegalese people," Sall, 50, said of a
smoothly-held election that contrasted with the chaos in neighbouring
Mali after last week's coup by army mutineers.
"We have shown to
the world our democracy is mature. I will be the president of all the
Senegalese," said Sall, a former prime minister for Wade who
acrimoniously split from his mentor in 2008, told an overnight news
Sall campaigned for Sunday's election on lowering the
cost of living for Senegalese, including by cutting taxes on rice. He
had criticised Wade for pursuing vanity projects - including an African
Renaissance Monument standing slightly taller than New York's Statue of
Liberty - instead of helping poor Senegalese.
The election was
the latest test for democracy in a region plagued by bloodshed and
flawed votes, including Ivory Coast's which triggered a civil war last
Senegal is the only nation on mainland West Africa not to
have seen a coup or civil war since independence. A military coup in
Mali demonstrated how quickly a democracy can unravel.