Wade Claims Lead in Senegal Presidential Poll

Posted February 27th, 2012 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade says he is leading in the vote count from Sunday's presidential election.

In a news conference at the presidential palace in Dakar Monday, Mr. Wade said results are in from about half of Senegal's 550 voting districts.

He said the results show him winning about 32 percent of the vote. He said the second-place candidate, who he did not identify, has about 25 percent.

VOA correspondent Anne Look, who attended the press conference, reports that Mr. Wade acknowledged a second-round vote is possible. The president's party had predicted a first-round victory for the incumbent.

A total of 13 opposition candidates are seeking to unseat the president, who angered many Senegalese by trying to extend his 12-year rule of the West African nation.

Earlier Monday, one of Mr. Wade's main rivals, Macky Sall, said 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.