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Senegal’s youngest president, Faye, sworn in

Senegal’s opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in yesterday as the country’s fifth and youngest president ever, promising to restore stability and bring economic progress.

Faye won the presidential election on his 44th birthday last week, following a period of imprisonment alongside popular opposition figure and mentor Ousmane Sonko. Both were released less than two weeks before the vote through a political amnesty announced by the outgoing president, Macky Sall.

Former tax inspector Faye, who spent over eleven months in prison for a Facebook post deemed subversive by authorities, defeated Amadou Ba, the candidate of Sall’s ruling coalition, by a landslide in the first round of voting, reflecting high hopes for change in the country of around 18 million.

“The results of the election showed a profound desire for change. Senegal will be a country of hope, at peace, with an independent justice system and a stronger democracy,” Faye said after taking the oath of office at a ceremony attended by his two wives.

He also promised to manage affairs ethically and to build the economy.

The inauguration at Diamniadio Exhibition Centre in Dakar was attended by over a dozen heads of state and regional representatives, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, and African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Representatives from the military juntas of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger were also present, according to Reuters.

The smooth transition was a welcome boost after three years of unprecedented political turmoil in Senegal, raising concerns about democratic backsliding in the coup-prone region of West Africa, where juntas have seized power and cut ties with traditional Western allies in favour of Russia.

Meanwhile, President Tinubu has congratulated President Faye on his inauguration in Dakar.

As the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Tinubu said the successful conduct of the Senegal election is a boost to the sub-regional organization in its efforts to promote peace and constitutional order, as well as strengthen ties among member states.

Tinubu also congratulated the people of Senegal and assured them of Nigeria’s best wishes and support.

 

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