Senegal Opposition Leader Avoids Runoff as He Secures Presidency

(Bloomberg) -- Senegal’s opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye was officially confirmed as the winner of Sunday’s presidential elections, beating the ruling coalition’s candidate by an overwhelming majority to avoid a runoff vote.

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Faye of the Pastef party secured 54% of the ballot against 36% for the Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition candidate Amadou Ba, the National Vote Counting Commission head Amady Diouf said Wednesday. Voter turnout was 61%, he said.

Faye, who was released from prison only ten days before the contest, won a landslide in the capital Dakar, the northern city of Saint Louis and Ziguinchor in the south, results from the departments showed.

The 44-year-old former tax inspector was largely unknown until a few months ago when firebrand opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who was disqualified from the race following a libel conviction, designated Faye as the flagbearer for his party.

Faye, who has never served in government, has pledged to fight graft, high living costs and strengthen state institutions. He’s also expected to renegotiate oil and gas contracts, seek a reform of the regional CFA franc currency and review Senegal’s fisheries deals with European partners.

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