Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade admits poll defeat

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pretoria -Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has admitted defeat in the presidential run-off held on Sunday, and has congratulated his rival former Prime Minister Macky Sall.

According to the preliminary results, Sall won 69% of votes against Wade with 30.84%. A total of 5 080 294 Senegalese nationals are registered as voters on the country's electoral lists.

Wade, 85, took office in 2000 and was re-elected in 2007. His decision to seek a third term aroused accusations from his opponents of violating the Constitution, which limits the presidency to two terms.

The Senegalese Constitutional Council, however, ruled the new Constitution was not in place when Wade was first elected.

Supporters of Sall were seen celebrating in the streets of the capital, singing and dancing.

Sall, born in 1961, served Wade's administration as Prime Minister from 2004 to 2007. He has promised to introduce universal social protection, which will mainly provide family security loans, universal medical coverage and improved retirement benefits. He is also talking about creating more jobs for the youth and investing about 2,000 billion FCFA (4 billion U.S. dollars) in the rural areas, as well as reducing prices of basic foodstuffs.

A spotlight of his political reforms is to reduce the period of the presidential term from the current seven years to five years, which will only be renewed once.

Meanwhile, in Mali, the situation is tense after the announcement that parts of its military forces had taken control of the African country.

Mali's main political parties have condemned the coup d',tat. The country also faces mounting international pressure for a return to the constitutional rule, with the United Nations and the European Union strongly condemning the coup and the African Union (AU) suspending Mali's membership.

The coup came one month ahead of the scheduled April 29 presidential elections and the expiry of President Toure's second term of office. Many Malians consider the takeover as unnecessary.