By Bate Felix
DAKAR (Reuters) – Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is unlikely to have won Sunday’s first-round presidential vote, the head of the EU observer mission said on Tuesday, adding to expectations Wade will have to fight a tough run-off to secure a third term.
“There will probably be a second round as any other outcome seems improbable, according to what we have heard so far,” Thijs Berman told a news conference in Dakar as partial returns showed Wade in the lead with about a third of the vote – well short of the more than 50 percent needed to secure a first-round win.
Wade’s bid for a third term at the age of 85 has sparked weeks of street protests in the usually peaceful West African state, but voting on Sunday was calm and well-organised. Critics say the constitution bans Wade from seeking a third term.
Wade told reporters late on Monday he estimated his score at 32.17 percent of the vote according to tallies from around 50 percent of polling stations, adding that a first-round victory or second round were still possible. His former ally Macky Sall has around 25 percent, according to unofficial counts.
“When a candidate says he has 32 percent based on around half of the results already, it is difficult to see him getting over 50 percent,” noted Berman.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson also said late on Monday that a second round was probable.
Washington has said Wade’s decision to seek a new mandate could pose a risk to Senegal’s stability and urged him to make way for a new generation of leaders.
Authorities have until Friday to declare official results, with legal appeals possible. A second round will follow a few weeks after that. Read more…