|Opposition candidate Macky Sall promised to hold himself to a proposed change to presidential term limits [Reuters]|
Senegal’s judicial authorities have confirmed that incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade will take on opposition frontrunner Macky Sall in a second round runoff vote.
According to judicial authorities on Wednesday, Wade scooped 942,546 votes, or 34.8 per cent of the votes in Sunday’s poll. Sall, Wade’s former prime minister, won 26.5 per cent with 719,369 votes in his favour.
A runoff vote is expected to be held on March 18 or 25.
Turnout in the February 26 election hovered around the 51 per cent mark, authorities said.
In third and fourth place were two other one-time members of Wade’s inner circle – former prime ministers Moustapha Niasse, with 357,347 votes, or 13.2 per cent, and Idrissa Seck with 212,848, or 7.86 per cent.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sall invited the 12 opposition candidates who stood in Sunday’s presidential vote to back him, as well as banned presidential hopeful and world music star Youssou N’Dour.
Sall has been campaigning on a platform of change.
He also promised to reduce term limits to five years, and said that he would fix Senegal’s constitution to ensure that no leader, including himself, could have more than two terms in power.
For most of Senegal’s post-independence history, the presidential term was seven years long.
After his election in 2000 Wade reduced it to five.
In a controversial decision, Wade changed the constitution in 2008 to allow for a seven year term once again.
Wade has been in power for 12 years. He spent 25 years in the opposition fighting to loosen the grip of the former socialist party, which ruled the former French colony for 40 years since independence in 1960.
Wade’s reputation suffered a downturn when he announced last year that he planned to run for a third term.
For weeks leading up to Sunday’s election, police clashed with protesters calling for Wade to step aside.