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Senegal: President Wade Concedes Defeat In Presidential Runoff Election

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By Anne Look

Senegalese state television reports that President Abdoulaye Wade has conceded defeat in Sunday’s presidential runoff election.

Supporters of opposition leader Macky Sall are celebrating in the streets of Dakar, as unofficial results show Mr. Sall leading by a wide margin in Senegal’s presidential runoff election.

Senegalese state television reports that incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade telephoned Mr. Sall late Sunday evening to congratulate him, only three-and-a-half hours after polls closed in the West African country.

Mr. Wade was seeking a controversial third term in office. He was widely popular 12 years ago, when he came to office. But electricity cuts, unemployment and a rising cost of living have since disenchanted many Senegalese.

At 85 years of age, Mr. Wade is Africa’s second oldest leader. Mr. Sall is more than three decades his junior.

Mr. Sall is the president’s former political protege. He served as mining minister, prime minister and president of the National Assembly before a falling out with Mr. Wade in late 2008.

Senegal’s opposition united behind Mr. Sall for the second round vote.

Despite violence ahead of the first round of voting on February 25, Sunday’s vote was calm.

Election observers say the ballot reaffirms Senegal’s reputation as one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

The country’s electoral commission is expected to announce official provisional results in a few days.

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