10 things you need to know about Senegal's President-elect Bassirou Diomaye Faye
10 things you need to know about Senegal's President-elect Bassirou Diomaye Faye
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10 things you need to know about Senegal's President-elect Bassirou Diomaye Faye

Senegal's political landscape is undergoing a significant transformation with the emergence of opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye as the apparent winner in the recent presidential elections. 

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Amidst celebrations and anticipation, here are 10 key insights into the life, policies, and impact of President-elect Faye on Senegal's democracy and future.

1. Emergence in Senegalese Politics: Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a 44-year-old leader, has surged into the heart of Senegal's political landscape following his release from prison alongside mentor Ousmane Sonko.

2. Independent Candidacy: Faye contested the elections as an independent candidate after his Patriots of Senegal (PASTEF) party was dissolved last July due to causing unrest. PASTEF, founded by Sonko, endorsed Faye's candidacy.

3. Accusations Against Incumbent Government: Faye has been a vocal critic of President Macky Sall's administration, accusing it of corruption and failing to address chronic poverty, particularly through extending the election period, which triggered political tensions.

4. Background and Personal Life: Born in 1980 in Ndiaganiao, Senegal, Faye previously worked as a tax inspector. He has two wives, Marie Khone Faye and Absa Faye, and has four children with Marie Khone.

5. Prison Experience: Faye faced legal troubles in 2023, leading to his arrest on charges including spreading false news, contempt of court, and defamation. He was released alongside Sonko just days before the elections.

6. Policy Focus: As a former tax inspector, Faye has pledged to tackle corruption, restore stability, and prioritize economic sovereignty. He aims to replace the CFA franc currency inherited from colonial times and renegotiate mining and hydrocarbon contracts.

7. Unemployment Challenge: Senegal's high unemployment rate, particularly affecting the youth, is a central issue for Faye. He aims to address this by creating opportunities and leveraging economic policies.

8. Opposition Candidates: Faye competed against 18 other candidates, including former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, who conceded defeat to Faye. Other notable candidates included Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne and Khalifa Sall.

9. Female Representation: Despite a significant female demographic contributing to Senegal's economy, there was only one female candidate, Anta Babacar Ngom, in the presidential race.

10. Election Dynamics: The elections witnessed a turnout of 71% among the 7.3 million registered voters. While final results are yet to be announced, Faye's victory signals potential shifts in Senegal's political landscape and governance priorities.

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