Second round runoff today


Following the inconclusive first round of the presidential elections on 26th February, incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade faces opposition candidate Macky Sall in the second round runoff today.

Two weeks ago Macky Sall announced the formation of the Alliance of Forces for Change coalition through which all of the first round opposition candidates have pledged him their support in today’s runoff. The former prime minister also has the backing of the youth movement and NGOs which took to the streets earlier this year at the announcement that Abdoulaye Wade would be standing again, even though many believe that this would constitute a third term in contravention of the constitution.

President Wade has been more reliant on the marabouts, Muslim leaders who hold considerable influence over their followers. He has been trying to get the marabouts to instruct their supporters to vote for Wade. Several important marabouts have agreed to do so, although there have been suggestions that money has changed hands in the form of alms. As a result this election might also indicate how influenced modern voters are by the instructions of their Muslim opinion formers. Certainly Macky Sall has been attracting large crowds.

Around 5.3 million people will be entitled to vote between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time. Turnout in the first round was 51.6% with Abdoulaye Wade taking 34.82% of the vote and Macky Sall taking 26.57%.

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