Senegal’s Constitutional Council declares Macky Sall winner of presidential poll

President Macky Sall was on Tuesday officially declared winner of the February 24 presidential election in Senegal, after the constitutional council confirmed he won with 58 percent of votes. The 57-year-old who has led the West Africa country to more than 6 percent growth had been seen as favourite to win.

More than 66 percent of the 6.7 million registered voters took part in the election whose results opponents rejected but decided not to contest.

A day after the election, Senegal’s Prime Minister Mahammed Dionne told a news conference that President Sall had won the poll.

“We must congratulate President Macky Sall for his first-round election victory,” Dionne said in Dakar, Senegal’s capital city. “Our gathered results show that our candidate has largely won the election in the 13 out of 14 regions in the country. We can expect a minimum of 57 percent.”

However, it was not until Tuesday that it became official.

Sall, who commented on the poll for the first time on Tuesday thanked the voters for choosing him again and for supporting his plans to modernize Senegal. “This renewed trust motivates me to work twice as hard, to do more and better,” he said.

The president in his message to opposition candidates called for dialogue and unity.

Rights groups criticized President Sall for squeezing out two of Senegal’s most popular opposition leaders who were barred from contesting the election, having been jailed for corruption.

Former mayor of Dakar, the Senegalese capital Khalifa Sall (not related to the president) is serving a five-year jail term. Karim Wade, son of former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade served half of a six-year jail term before going into exile in Qatar in 2017.

Both Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade deny the corruption charges, claiming they are politically motivated. Amnesty International also said both men were subject to “unfair trials.”

The Constitutional Council, which is responsible for announcing final election results and adjudicating electoral disputes, confirmed that runner-up Idrissa Seck secured 21 percent of the votes at the presidential poll, while Ousmane Sonko came third with 16 percent.