Sall Sworn in As Senegal President

Posted April 2nd, 2012 at 10:30 am (UTC-5)
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Senegal's new president, Macky Sall, has taken the oath of office, completing a smooth transition of power in the West African nation.

Mr. Sall was sworn in Monday before thousands of dignitaries in a tent decorated with the red, yellow and green colors of Senegal's flag.

In brief remarks, he promised to uphold the constitution and the law and protect Senegal's territorial integrity and independence.

He said, “Before God, and before the Senegalese nation, I swear to fulfill faithfully the role of the president of the Republic of Senegal, to observe and make others observe scrupulously the disposals of the constitution and the law, to dedicate all my efforts to the defense of the constitutional institutions, the unity of the territory and national independence and never to spare any efforts in the realization of African unity.”

The new leader defeated former president Abdoulaye Wade in a March 25 runoff election with about 65 percent of the vote.

The 85-year-old Wade had angered many Senegalese with his decision seek a third term, despite a two-term limit in the constitution. Riots during the election campaign killed six people.

Mr. Wade's concession after losing the runoff reinforced Senegal's reputation as a stable democracy. Instability remains a problem in West Africa, where four of Senegal's neighbors have experienced coups or coup attempts in the past five years.

President Sall is 50 years old and previously spent three years as prime minister under Mr. Wade.

After falling from favor, he broke with Mr. Wade's party in 2008, formed his own party, and served as mayor in his hometown of Fatick.

Mr. Wade won the first round of the presidential election in February. But the other opposition candidates endorsed Mr. Sall, who promised to lower basic food costs and reform the government.