Contentious presidential election today


Senegal votes today for a new president. Incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade is standing for e third contentious time. The constitution allows only for two terms, but Wade says that the new rule came in after he had started his first term. The constitutional court agrees with him but a large section of the population does not. The court also ruled out a number of opponents who, they said, did not have valid nominations.

The result has been a cocktail of violence which has led to protests and deaths. The June 23 Movement (M-23), the main protest group has not backed down and if Wade is elected in the first round there is a strong possibility of escalated violence.

Part of the problem is that Wade is facing a divided opposition. There are 13 candidates standing against him, including three former prime ministers, Idrissa Seck, Macky Sall and Moustapha Niasse, and the socialist leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng.

Protesters are hoping that a second round runoff may see Wade ousted.

Around 5.3 million people are entitled to vote and polling stations are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

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