Senegal: Presidential Election Campaign Heightens

The first round of the election holds on February 24, 2019 with five candidates running

Senegalese voters are getting set to choose their fifth leader since independence from France on April 4, 1960, with the first round of the vote holding on Sunday, February 24, 2019. As the day gradually draws near, all five presidential candidates have increased the tempo of their electioneering activities. Incumbent President Macky Sall, who is seeking a second term – now to last only five years, instead of the seven he just served – is being challenged by four notable politicians.

They are Ousmane Sonko, Idrissa Seck, Issa Sall and Madické Niang. President Sall was recently in Gossas, the stronghold of Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, where he was welcomed by thousands of supporters of the Benno Bokk Yaakaar coalition, Le Soleil newspaper reported. He promised more infrastructure and new government buildings for the town, saying he was certain to have at least 85 per cent score in Gosass Council, which he won in 2009.

Over the weekend, Madické Niang visited Joal, the home town of founding President Léopold Sédar Senghor where he addressed some 200 supporters. He promised fishing material and a security post for locals if elected, Radio France International, RFI, reported. He spent just 40 minutes, talking to supporters and driving round town in a convoy accompanied by motorbike riders.

Niang, who had just returned from Italy where he wooed the Senegalese Diaspora vote, later took his campaign tour to Thiès and PortLouis. Idrissa Seck, who heads the MATAM coalition, has recently been in Ourossogui where he told supporters that the wave of change sweeping across the country has not left Fouta people indifferent as they are also affected by the same challenges, Le Soleil said.

Addressing a crowd made up mostly of young people, Idrissa Seck listed their challenges as including lack of justice, youth unemployment and absence of basic health and educational infrastructure.

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