Senegal presidential vote likely to return incumbent for second term

Senegal presidential vote likely to return incumbent for second term

Senegal will elect a new president today from a field of five candidates. Thanks to economic growth averaging almost 7%

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Photo: The New York Times

Senegal will elect a new president today from a field of five candidates.

Thanks to economic growth averaging almost 7% over the past few years, Incumbent President Macky Sall is expected to be re-elected to a second and final term by a narrow margin. The country’s two most prominent opposition figures were barred by the courts from running due to past convictions of misusing public funds. Former PM Idriss Seck­– Sall’s primary opponent– has criticised mounting poverty, migration flows to Europe, and selloffs of important companies to former coloniser, France.

The country’s six million registered voters will likely focus on Sall’s record of investing in major infrastructure projects­– such as roads, universities and healthcare facilities. Should the incumbent win, his ‘Emerging Senegal’ initiative will be expanded, increasing the range of free healthcare and education provided by the state to accelerate development goals, including increased electricity access.

The project is part of efforts to increase foreign investment to ensure growth remains at an average of above or near 7% into the next decade. Despite concerns about political freedoms in the country, a Sall re-election that produces continued growth is likely to allay these concerns in the medium-term.

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