Senegal Counts Votes in Controversial Presidential Election

Posted February 27th, 2012 at 7:15 am (UTC-5)
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Election officials in Senegal are counting votes from Sunday's presidential election.

Opposition candidates are seeking to unseat President Abdoulaye Wade, who angered many Senegalese by trying to extend his 12-year rule of the West African nation.

Early, unofficial returns indicate a close race, and one of Mr. Wade's main rivals, Macky Sall, said Monday that a second-round vote is “inevitable.” Senegal's electoral commission has yet to release any results.

Mr. Wade's decision to seek a third term triggered weeks of demonstrations ahead of the vote, some of which turned violent. At least six people were killed in the protests.

Amadou Sall, a spokesman for Mr. Wade's campaign, told VOA that he expects the president will win re-election, and that all Senegalese will accept the results.

When asked about the prospect of a run-off vote if no candidate wins a majority, Sall said it is up to the voters.

“If the Senegalese people decide that President Wade will win at the first round, then President Wade will win at the first round. And if the Senegalese people decide that we will have a second round, we will have a second round.”

Hundreds of people booed President Wade Sunday as he voted at his home precinct.

Opponents say his bid for a third term is unconstitutional following a reform he signed into law in 2001 that limits presidents to two terms.

The presidentially appointed Constitutional Court ruled last month the reform did not apply to Mr. Wade because it came into effect while he was already in office.

Thirteen other candidates are running against President Wade, including two who have served as prime minister during his rule.