Senegal’s top court confirms Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s election victory | Elections News

The 44-year-old will be inaugurated to replace Macky Sall, who ruled the West African nation for 12 years.

Senegal’s Constitutional Council has confirmed the presidential election victory of opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

The confirmation on Friday paves the way for his inauguration as the country’s fifth president, which is expected to take place on April 2.

The top court validated provisional results announced on Wednesday based on vote tallies from 100 percent of polling stations.

Faye – an anti-establishment candidate and ally of popular opposition figure Ousmane Sonko – won more than 54 percent of votes cast in last Sunday’s delayed presidential poll.

His closest competitor in the polls, ruling coalition candidate Amadou Ba who was handpicked by outgoing President Macky Sall, took about 35 percent of the vote.

The Council said no objections had been raised by the other contenders. At age 44, Faye becomes Africa’s youngest president.

The African Union hailed the “unanimous acceptance of the results”.  African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he “warmly congratulates” Faye on his victory and wished him “full success in his weighty and noble charge”.

French President Emmanuel Macron also offered Faye “warm congratulations” and said France wanted to “continue and intensify the partnership” between their countries, his office said.

Faye’s victory came just 10 days after he was freed from prison. He has said he wants a “break” with the current political system.

Analysts said his win reflected a protest against the outgoing leadership and divisions within a powerful, but weakened, governing coalition.

‘Ousmane is Diomaye’

Millions in Senegal took part in the vote last Sunday.

The polls followed three years of political turbulence that led to violent antigovernment protests, which garnered greater support for the opposition.

Going into the election, Faye was seen as a strong contender to replace Sall, after his ally Sonko was disqualified from the ballot because of a suspended jail sentence following a conviction for defamation. Sonko endorsed Faye to run in his place.

Although Faye was imprisoned last April and charged with contempt of court, defamation and acts likely to compromise public peace, after posting a message critical of the justice system, he was not convicted of any crime and was able to stand in the election.

“A man that was imprisoned for more than 11 months, over a Facebook post that authorities had deemed dangerous to the sovereignty and the security of the state, is now at the helm of one of the fastest growing economies in West Africa,” said Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar.

“Faye is the youngest elected head of state in Africa and is promising change to the people … of Senegal,” he added.

Commonly known as ‘Diomaye’, Faye ran under the slogan “Ousmane mooy Diomaye”, meaning “Ousmane is Diomaye” in Wolof – reinforcing the links between him and Sonko.

Both men studied law and worked as tax inspectors, where they met and spoke out against corruption, and later co-founded the now-dissolved PASTEF party in 2014.

They have branded themselves as incorruptible tax inspectors who did not fill their pockets while others did.

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