Senegal is to hold a second round of presidential elections after incumbent Abdoulaye Wade failed to win an absolute majority, election officials confirmed late Wednesday.
According to the first official elections results, Wade won 34.8 percent of the vote, meaning that he faces a run-off next month against his former prime minister, Macky Sall, who came second with 26.5 percent, the BBC reported.
The second round is expected to be held on March 18.
Wednesday’s results are an embarrassing defeat for Wade, 85, who had boasted that he would win the race outright.
Analysts say that to hold on to power Wade needed to secure victory in the first round, as his 13 opponents will now likely unite behind Sall under an “anyone-but-Wade” umbrella,” according to the Washington Post.
Attention has turned to Moustapha Niasse, who polled third at Sunday’s elections with 13.2 percent and has emerged as the leading potential kingmaker.
He has already ruled out supporting Wade, but has not yet endorsed Sall, Reuters reported.
“I’m sure the desire for change of the Senegalese people will give me the victory in the second round,” Sall, 50, said at a press conference after the results were announced.
A geologist, and mayor of the western town of Fatick, he has promised to introduce measures to reduce food prices, cut the presidential term from seven years down to five, and enforce a two-term limit.
Angry street demonstrations were held in the run-up to Sunday’s polling, in protest against Wade’s bid to secure a third term in office, despite having served two constitutional terms.
His critics argue he has no right to stand again. Around six died in the violence.
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