Senegal to Release Election Results; Wade Claiming Lead

Posted February 28th, 2012 at 2:20 am (UTC-5)
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Senegal's electoral commission is due to release the first results from Sunday's presidential election, with President Abdoulaye Wade saying he is leading in the vote count and the opposition calling a run-off vote “inevitable.”

Tuesday's official results come a day after Mr. Wade gave a news conference at the presidential palace in Dakar, where he said results from about half of Senegal's voting districts showed him winning about 32 percent of the vote.

He said the second-place candidate, whom he did not identify, has about 25 percent.

A candidate must win a majority to avoid a second round of voting.

Mr. Wade's party had predicted a first-round victory for the incumbent, but the president acknowledged Monday that the election could be headed to a runoff.

“So everything is still possible, victory or second round.”

He said his party will look at the possibilities of aligning with other groups.

Earlier Monday, one of Mr. Wade's main rivals, Macky Sall, said that a second-round vote is “inevitable.”

Thirteen 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.

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.

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.