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Senegal - 2017 Election

President Macky Sall held office since 2012. In legislative elections held on 30 July 2017, Salls coalition won a majority of seats in the National Assembly. The parliamentary elections were widely seen as a test for presidential elections in 2019. The elections were hampered by logistical problems and preceded by the controversial imprisonment of President Sall's main rival, Khalifa Sall, on corruption charges. Local NGOs and international observers, including those from the African Union, characterized the elections as generally free and fair, despite significant irregularities. Approximately 53 percent of voters cast ballots, a significant increase from the 36 percent who cast ballots in the previous legislative election in 2012.

There was some violence during campaigning. In and around Dakar, supporters of Salls Manko coalition clashed several times with members of the presidents Benno Bokk Yaakaar coalition, which is led by the current prime minister. Tear gas filled the air in Dakars city center as police dispersed an opposition demonstration called by former president Abdoulaye Wade to denounce the organization of the upcoming election. Wades return to the country to lead the main opposition coalition was just one spark raising the temperature during this campaign period. Another key political figure, the mayor of Dakar, is leading his "Manko Taxanu Senegal" coalition from prison. Khalifa Sall was arrested in March and charged with embezzling public funds. He demanded temporary release during the campaign period, but his request was rejected by the Supreme Court.

There were 165 seats to be filled in the National Assembly, and voters chose from a record 47 lists, casting their ballots by party rather than for individual candidates. Many saw the vote as a sort of referendum on the current government of President Macky Sall and a preview of his potential challengers for the top job in 2019, although analysts say it is unlikely the ruling party will lose its majority in parliament.

Senegal wrapped up a heated campaign season ahead of the legislative polls 30 July 2017. Tear gas filled the air in Dakars city center as police dispersed an opposition demonstration called by former president Abdoulaye Wade to denounce the organization of the upcoming election. Wades return to the country to lead the main opposition coalition was just one spark raising the temperature during this campaign period.

Another key political figure, the mayor of Dakar, led his "Manko Taxanu Senegal" coalition from prison. Khalifa Sall was arrested in March and charged with embezzling public funds. He demanded temporary release during the campaign period, but his request was rejected by the Supreme Court.

There were 165 seats to be filled in the National Assembly, and voters would choose from a record 47 lists, casting their ballots by party rather than for individual candidates. Many saw the vote as a sort of referendum on the current government of President Macky Sall and a preview of his potential challengers for the top job in 2019, although analysts said it was unlikely the ruling party will lose its majority in parliament.

According to the electoral commission in Senegal, the country's ruling coalition party took 125 of 165 seats in parliament. This confirmed an expected landslide for supporters of President Macky Sall. The presidential coalition Benno Bokk Yaakaar (BBY) took 49.48 percent of votes in Senegal's list system, while the coalitions Coalition Gagnante Wattu Senegaal of ex-president Abdoulaye Wade and Manko Taxawu Sngal of Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall trailed massively, delivering them 19 seats and seven seats respectively. In addition to the BBY, 12 political coalitions and single parties have seats in the National Assembly, including Parti de lUnit et du Rassemblement (3).

The elections did not go without problems, as voters had to wait for hours for polling stations to open. Officials complained that hundreds of voters were prevented from casting their ballots due to delays in issuing identity cards. Many voters were left off voting lists at polling stations or told they did not have the right documents to vote. There were a lot of anomaliesr. There were so many people who wanted to vote, but were unable to vote. According to Minister for Interior Affairs, Abdoulaye Daouda Diall, only 70 percent of the electorate received their voting cards. The two main opposition parties said the problems with the ballot were engineered to deny opposition victory. They accused the government of delivering the new biometric cards in a selective way to help President Macky Sall's BBY coalition.

Official results from Senegal's election show Macky Sall won with 65.8 per cent, a crushing victory over outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade who trailed with 34.2 percent. president. Sall's political party is the Republican Alliance but he was elected as part of a broad coalition called Benno Bokk Yakkar, meaning 'United with the same Hope' in the Wolof language.

Voter turnout stood at 55 percent in an election which saw the beaten incumbent accept defeat just hours after polls closed, winning him praise from around the world. Sall, the 50-year-old former prime minister, assumed office after his inauguration on 3 April leaving him a few days to form a new government which is expected to include members of the opposition who lent him crucial support during the election. The west African nation received kudos from the continent and the world for a peaceful handover of power following tumultuous elections in which Wade had sought to rule into his 90s, seeking a third term which sparked deadly riots.





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