Oct 13, 2010, 1:41 PM
President Abdoulaye Wade has accepted that he was defeated by Macky Sall in Sunday’s run-off.
The African Union said Mr Wade’s concession showed “maturity” in the country’s democracy, while the European Union called
Mr Sall addressed thousands of cheering supporters in the capital,
He promised to be a president for all Senegalese people.
The president-elect, 50, said the poll marks a “new era” for the country.
The incumbent president made an early phone call to Macky Sall, to admit defeat and congratulate him.
Many had feared that Abdoulaye Wade’s candidacy for a third term meant he would try to cling to power and tarnish the country’s image as a peaceful and stable democracy.
After weeks of deadly protests before the first round, the Senegalese gave a lesson in democracy to
But is it Macky Sall’s victory or Abdoulaye Wade’s defeat?
As the local media were announcing results coming out of polling stations, one after the other after polls closed, it became clear that this election was a referendum in which people voted “no” to more of Mr Wade.
His bid for a third term in office, after 12 years in power, sparked violent protests which left six people dead.
Official results from Sunday’s election are expected within two days.
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said it was “a great victory for democracy in
AU Commission chairman Jean Ping said the peaceful conduct of the presidential elections “proved that
Earlier, President Nicolas Sarkozy of
The election comes just days after a military coup in neighbouring
Mr Wade “phoned his rival Macky Sall at 21:30 GMT [on Sunday] to congratulate him after the first results showed him to be the winner of a presidential run-off,” the Senegalese Press Agency said.
Even before Mr Wade’s concession, thousands of Sall supporters began celebrating on the streets of
They chanted “Macky president!” and “We have won!”
Mr Wade brought in a two-term limit for presidential office, but argued that the limit should not apply to his first term which came in before the constitution was changed.
His argument was upheld by the constitutional court in January, prompting widespread protests in which six people died.
In February’s first round, Mr Wade fell short of a majority, polling only 34.8%. Mr Sall came second with 26.6%. But most of the other 12 candidates backed Mr Sall in the second round.
Mr Sall owes his political career to Mr Wade, and had held several ministry portfolios before becoming prime minister, the BBC’s Thomas Fessy reports from
But the two men fell out over the handling of public spending by Karim Wade, the president’s unpopular son, whom many believe has been trying to succeed his father, our correspondent adds.
Mr Sall has promised that, if elected, he will shorten the presidential term to five years from the current seven, and enforce the two-term limit. He has also promised to bring in measures to reduce the price of basic foodstuffs.
The new leader also faces the difficult task of tackling rising unemployment in the country, our correspondent says.