Senegal President Faye names opposition leader Ousmane Sonko as prime minister

Left-wing pan-Africanist Bassirou Diomaye Faye on Tuesday became Senegal's youngest president, pledging systemic change after years of deadly turmoil and announcing his mentor, opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, as prime minister.

Faye, 44, has never previously held an elected office. He swept to a first-round victory on a promise of radical reform just 10 days after being released from prison.

He took the presidential oath in front of hundreds of officials and several African heads of state at an exhibition centre in the new town of Diamniadio, near Dakar.

He then returned to the capital, with his motorcade greeted by hundreds of jubilant residents who lined the roads leading to the presidential palace.

His predecessor, Macky Sall, symbolically handed Faye the key to the presidential headquarters before leaving the palace.

"Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfil the office of President of the Republic of Senegal," Faye had said earlier in the day.

Just hours later, his new administration appointed firebrand opposition leader Sonko prime minister.

"Mr Ousmane Sonko is named prime minister," said Oumar Samba Ba, the general secretary of the presidency, as he read out a decree on the public television station RTS.

Sonko, 49, was at the centre of a two-year stand-off with the state that triggered bouts of deadly unrest. He was disqualified from running in the most recent race and picked Faye as his replacement on the presidential ballot.

Senegal is due to start hydrocarbon production later this year.


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