Senegal Candidate Seeks Opposition Support for Second Round

Senegalese citizens at the February 26 polls. Image by Ricci Shryock. Senegal, 2012.

Senegal presidential candidate Macky Sall has began to seek the support of other opposition leaders in anticipation of a second round run-off between himself and incumbent Aboudlaye Wade in the West African country’s heated election.

Wade, who is seeking a controversial third term, conceded this week that he had not secured enough votes to avoid a run-off.

Jean Paul Diass, a former minister and co-chairman of Sall’s campaign, said Sall had already spoken with candidate Moustapha Niass, a leading opposition figure who will most likely not go to the second round.

“He has gone to see Niass, today he will go see someone else,” he said.

Though Sall hopes to gain the support of the 12 other opposition leaders who will not advance to the next round, Diass added that if the leaders don’t endorse Sall, that doesn’t mean the people will not.

“If someone hesitates, tough luck. We will talk to the people. They are not the boss of their voters.”

Diass said he believes if Sall can muster even just 30 percent of the voters who cast ballots for 12 other opposition leaders in the first round, he should be able to beat Wade.

Before becoming opponents, Sall served as Wade’s Prime Minister from 2004 to 2007. Later he split from the president and formed his own party. If elected, Sall has said he will lower prices on necessities such as food by eliminating taxes that have been added during Wade’s tenor.

“We are going to take those decrees, and we are going to cancel all of the useless taxes,” Diass said.

Votes are still being counted in Senegal, though provisional results show Wade ahead with 32 percent and Sall second with 25 percent, indicating the two will face a run-off in March.