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article imageSenegal's Macky Sall heading for presidential win: media tally

By AFP     Feb 26, 2019 in World

Senegalese President Macky Sall was poised Tuesday to return to office with a first-round election victory, with nearly 90 percent of votes counted.

Sall, 56, has so far won 2.2 million of the votes cast Sunday, against 1.7 million votes spread between his four rivals, according to compilations of regional counts reported by local media.

His first-round tally stands at 57.26 percent of the vote according to results based on 87 percent of votes cast, news website e-media said.

His nearest rival, former prime minister Idrissa Seck, was on 21.63 percent, the website added.

Senegal has a population of 16 million of whom 6.7 million were registered to vote.

In the increasingly unlikely event that no one wins more than 50 percent in the first round, a runoff vote would be held on March 24.

An interior ministry source told AFP that turnout for the election was 66.5 percent.

Already on Monday, Sall's camp was claiming victory in the election, from which some of his key rivals had been barred from running.

Senegal is often held up as a model of stability in Africa and has enjoyed strong economic growth.

The Muslim-majority country has largely escaped the jihadist attacks that have destabilised neighbours such as Mali.

It has known two peaceful power transfers, in 2000 and 2012, and has never experienced a coup.

But Senegalese election campaigns are typically marked by charges of corruption, disinformation and occasional violence.

Elena Valenciano, head of a European Union election observer group, said Tuesday that "contradictory declarations concerning the results and the hypothesis of a second round" would likely stoke tension.

She credited the vote as being "calm and transparent" but noted that it took place "in a climate characterised by a lack of trust and blocked dialogue between the opposition and the majority."

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