Senegalese vote to select new president
Millions of Senegalese voters cast their votes on Sunday to select their new leader of the country among the 14 candidates including outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade and some former prime ministers.
Polling started in the presidential election Sunday morning with an expectation of millions of voters turning out during a 10- hour vote period.
More than 11,900 polls in about 6,192 polling stations are opened in the western African nation for voters from 8 a.m. to 6 p. m. local time (0800-1800 GMT) to cast their votes.
Voters are in long lines at polling stations for turn to cast their votes in a peaceful order at the start of the voting, but some polling stations could not open on time because of technical reasons.
Observers from international organizations are also present at the polling stations, Xinhua reporters saw at the Mornez neighborhood.
There are currently 5,080,294 registered voters in Senegal and 203,170 eligible voters oversea. The military and paramilitary voted on Feb. 18 and 19 due to their duty of maintenance of order on Feb. 26.
Senegal’s Constitutional Council has accepted 14 candidates that are running for president this year, including President Abdoulaye Wade who is bidding for a third term.
Opposition parties have rejected the candidature of Wade, 85, dismissing it as unconstitutional given that he was elected first in 2000 and re-elected in 2007. The Senegalese Constitution allows one to rule for only two terms. However, the Constitutional Council ruled that Wade’s first term should not be considered because he was elected under the old constitution.
Other front runners include Idrissa Seck, former prime minister, Moustapha Niasse, former prime minister who helped Wade win the presidency in 2000, and Ousmane Tanor Dieng, general secretary of the Senegalese Socialist Party. For the first time in Senegal’s political history, there are two women candidates.
Both the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) have sent missions to observe the presidential election.