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Former Senegalese PM concedes defeat to opposition candidate day after presidential vote

<i>John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>A supporter of the coalition of anti-establishment candidates holds a Senegalese flag as they sit on top of a wall during a campaign rally in Dakar on March 10.
John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
A supporter of the coalition of anti-establishment candidates holds a Senegalese flag as they sit on top of a wall during a campaign rally in Dakar on March 10.

By Niamh Kennedy, Larry Madowo, Xiaofei Xu and Nimi Princewill, CNN

(CNN) — Former Senegalese Prime Minister Amadou Ba has conceded defeat to leading opposition figure Bassirou Diomaye Faye in the western African country’s presidential elections.

“With regard to the provisional results and awaiting the official proclamation, I congratulate President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye for his victory in the first round,” Ba, 62, said in a statement.

“I wish him lots of success and success for the well-being of the Senegalese people,” he added.

Outgoing President Macky Sall also congratulated Faye, describing the “smooth running” of the election as a “victory of Senegalese democracy.”

Early unofficial results showed Faye with a clear lead of 57% of votes while Ba came second with 31% of the votes, independent Senegalese radio station, Futurs Médias reported Monday.

Several opposition candidates in Sunday’s election conceded defeat to Faye earlier.

One of Senegal’s main opposition presidential candidates, Anta Babacar Ngom, conceded defeat to Faye on Sunday, writing on X: “I wish Mr. Faye every success at the helm of Senegal.”

Dethie Fall, one of 19 candidates in the election, also congratulated Faye “for his beautiful victory clearly achieved in view of the very strong trends that have emerged” in a statement Sunday.

Faye was also congratulated early Monday by another presidential candidate, Khalifa Sall.

Ba of the ruling coalition, who left his role as prime minister earlier in March to kickstart his campaign for the Senegalese top job called on people to “remain calm” while waiting for official results, saying celebrations were premature.

Official results will be announced by Saturday at the latest, according to an official from Senegal’s Autonomous National Electoral Commission.

From prisoner to president

Faye, 44, a former tax inspector and political detainee who had been imprisoned since April last year until his release on March 14, was chosen as a backup candidate for popular opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. Sonko was barred from the polls after the Senegalese Supreme Court upheld his conviction over a defamation case in early January. Both men were released 11 days ago after President Sall granted amnesty to political prisoners.

Despite a shortened campaign period, Faye and Sonko, who enjoys widespread support among Senegalese youth who account for over 60% of the country’s population, sparked fierce support and debates across the country.

President Sall, whose second and final term expires on April 2, has promised to peacefully hand over to his elected successor after the country’s top court blocked his attempts to delay the election – originally scheduled for February 24 – for 10 months.

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