Senegalese speak, and their beleaguered president listens


A street vendor sells Senegalese newspapers commenting March 25's presidential elections on March 26, 2012 in Dakar. The African Union today praised the peaceful handover of power following presidential elections in Senegal, after incumbent Abdoulaye Wade's acceptance of defeat.


Issouf Sanogo

The people spoke and President Abdoulaye Wade listened, conceding defeat in an after-dark phone call to his rival Macky Sall. In the second round run-off vote Sall's share rocketed and Wade's dropped off a touch giving the challenger a resounding victory.

That Senegal has conducted a proper election in which the results were respected is great news for the Senegalese and an important counterweight to the military coup in neighbouring Mali. Not that elections in Senegal directly affect what happens anywhere else in Africa, nor do they change anything that's happening in Mali, but they do challenge the dominant narrative that has been confirmed by the dangerous shams of democracy carried out in Ivory Coast and Congo recently.

More from GlobalPost: Senegal Elections: Abdoulaye Wade concedes defeat to Macky Sall (PHOTOS)

For a while, as Wade insisted on running for an unconstitutional third term, and with security forces attacking opposition supporters, it seemed that Wade was determined to lead Senegal down the same path. However he blinked and the results went overwhelmingly against him. If only more of Africa's obstinate incumbents followed his lead and step down rather than fight on when their time is up.