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Source: The Guardian
It is the story African voters live in fear of – a democratically elected leader flouts the constitution to extend his term in office, then refuses to cede power. For the past two months, voters in Senegal have been questioning whether their proud west African democracy would suffer the same fate.
But with one phone call on Sunday night, Senegal’s 85-year-old president, Abdoulaye Wade, has finally confirmed the resilience of Senegal’s political system, conceding victory to the opposition leader, Macky Sall, as early results showed a clear victory in runoff elections.
Wade’s decision to admit defeat early – less than three hours after results began being announced – prompted carnival scenes on the streets of Dakar as residents celebrated the end of 12 years of increasingly unpopular rule. Tens of thousands of Sall’s supporters gathered at his party’s headquarters throwing fireworks into the air, chanting “freedom at last” and “viva Macky”.
“Can someone please confirm that we are no longer under the reign of Wade and his thieves?” a young Sall campaigner, Ngoye, shouted through tears as her friends hugged her and reassured her.
In other parts of Dakar, thousands of people gathered in the streets celebrating through the night, while taxis blockaded the roads and drivers danced through the traffic. At Independence Square, the centre of pre-election riots, at least 10,000 supporters danced and chanted for hours.
One of the revellers was Souleymane, a university student who had painted his body with the red, yellow and green colours of Senegal. “The last time we were in this square to exercise our rights, the police beat us and threw teargas at us. Tonight I’m here dancing and singing for my Macky and not a single police officer can even raise an eyebrow. How fantastic!” READ MORE