Ballots are being counted in Sunday’s presidential election in Senegal, with early provisional unofficial results from polling centers showing incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade taking an early lead.
Credible sources close to the country’s autonomous National elections commission said results from about 2,000 of the 12,553 polling stations in Senegal and abroad put incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade in first place with up to 38% of the votes counted so far.
Coming second is Macky Sall, a former Prime Minister under Wade with 27%, followed by another former Wade Prime Minister Moustapha Niass, 12%, Ousman Tanor Dieng, 8% and another ex-Prime Minister Idrissa Seck with 6%.
Counting of votes is expected to continue late into Sunday night and final official results are expected by March 2.
Over 5 million voters registered for Senegal’s presidential election to choose from a slate of 14 candidates, two of them women.
The country’s election law states that if there’s no outright winner in the first round, there will be a runoff. The second round will be called, if no candidate has an absolute majority of 50 percent of the valid votes plus one.
If that happens, the country’s electoral authorities will publish a writ no later than eight (8) days before the election date.
West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) reporters in Dakar and other parts of the country say Sunday’s poll,which were preceded by deadly pre-elction violence, generally passed off peacefully.
But reports from the restive southern Senegalese region of Casamance said insecurity caused delay in the arrival of election materials in some districts, while in other towns it was not safe to vote.
The MFDC separatist rebels in Casamance on Saturday launched an attack on government forces in the town of Goudomp, killing one soldier.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) election observer mission has generally praised the conduct of the polls, in its preliminary repot.
The head of the mission, Thija Berman told Journalists in Dakar after polls closed that although there were reports of problems in the process in the provincial town of Kaolack and other parts of Senegal, “concerning cases of fraud EU observers didn’t notice any.”
The EU observers also spoke of huge mobilization of people in the morning for voting and said the voting process was conducted in a calm manner.
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