NewsAfricaAfter the legislative elections, the Senegalese hope for the triumph of democracy

    After the legislative elections, the Senegalese hope for the triumph of democracy

    In the aftermath of a peaceful election, the Senegalese are still awaiting the publication of the official results on Monday, while the opposition and the presidential camp are claiming victory. In the streets of Dakar, the atmosphere is relaxed and the citizens share the feeling of having witnessed a great moment of democracy.

    Barely two hours after the closing of the polls, and while the country is still awaiting the results, scenes of popular jubilation broke out on Sunday July 31 in several districts of Dakar. In Sicap-Liberté and Grand Yoff, two of the district municipalities of Dakar, the mayor of the capital, Barthélémy Dias, candidate for the legislative elections of the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi, improvises a “caravan of victory”. Followed by a growing crowd, he raises his arms to heaven, smiling. The victory of the opposition is clear according to the city councilor, who cites the first trends broadcast by the media.

    A Yewwi Askan Wi truck, equipped with big loudspeakers, broadcasts just behind it popular music taken up in chorus by opposition supporters. A chorus comes up regularly: “Bojo bojo yé”, which could be translated from Wolof as “Hey, rascals”. For more atmosphere, a young man brandishes a homemade smoke bomb, composed using a lighter and an insecticide.

    A young man brandishes a homemade smoke bomb, in Grand Yoff, in Dakar (Senegal), on the evening of the legislative elections, July 31, 2022. © Elimane Ndao, France 24

    “Since the closing of the polling stations, I have been closely following the results through the media. Listening to the radio and the correspondents who are all over the country, I have no doubt about the victory of Yewwi Askan Wi “, says Ali, in his fifties, standing on the sidewalk, his fist clenched in the direction of Barthélémy Dias.

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    >> To read also: “Senegal: rural people, ‘forgotten’ from the legislative elections”

    Power also cries victory

    Late in the evening, a calmer but equally triumphant atmosphere reigns at the headquarters of Benno Bokk Yaakaar, in Mermoz, a residential district of Dakar. Me El Hadji Diouf, sulphurous lawyer and member of the presidential coalition, performs a few dance steps, immediately followed by the other activists massed in the stands of the patio. In the center, about fifteen cameras face the desk from which Aminata Touré, head of the national list of the presidential coalition, must make her statement.

    Relaxed atmosphere at the headquarters of the ruling coalition, on the evening of the legislative elections in Senegal, July 31, 2022.
    Relaxed atmosphere at the headquarters of the ruling coalition, on the evening of the legislative elections in Senegal, July 31, 2022. © Elimane Ndao, France 24

    A standing ovation accompanies his entrance on the stage. It is 1 am, the crowd chants: “Mimi, Mimi, Mimi”, the nickname of the former Prime Minister of Senegal.

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    “We won 30 departments. As a reminder, the country has 46 departments,” she said after detailing them. “This undoubtedly gives us a majority in the National Assembly,” she adds, to the applause of activists. She is joined on stage by Me El Hadji Diouf and other officials of Benno Bokk Yaakaar, who exult after this announcement.

    In Senegal, where the legislative elections are held in a single round, 112 seats (including 15 for the diaspora) are filled by the majority list system within the framework of the constituencies. The remaining 53 seats are allocated proportionally after a nationwide vote count.

    The provisional official results of the departmental ballot are expected no later than Tuesday. The overall results will be published no later than Friday.

    victory of democracy

    Monday morning, in front of the parking lot of the Léopold-Sédar-Senghor stadium in Dakar, the debates are passionate between supporters of power and the opposition. Mohamed, sympathizer of Benno Bokk Yaakaar, and Chérif, keen on Yewwi Askan Wi, are both taxi drivers.

    “If Aminata Touré had not been sure of the results, she would never have announced that we have won a majority. For me, there is no doubt that President Macky Sall will have an Assembly won over to his cause to end his mandate calmly”, argues Mohamed.

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    Chérif is far from convinced. “The opposition won the most important cities like Dakar, Thiès, Saint-Louis and Ziguinchor. It is impossible for the authorities to obtain a majority. They lost the elections. They should have the honesty to recognize it”, he shouts.

    The front page of the daily newspapers the day after the legislative elections in Senegal, August 1, 2022.
    The front page of the daily newspapers the day after the legislative elections in Senegal, August 1, 2022. © Elimane Ndao, France 24

    In front of a newsstand not far from there, the Senegalese scrutinize with interest the front page of the daily newspapers. The headlines of the press generally announce results favorable to the opposition: “Sall time for Benno”, “It smells scorched” or even “Macky’s back to the wall”. Other dailies relativize: “Benno refuses cohabitation”, “Yewwi rakes, Benno resists”.

    Théophile Bassène, hands in pockets and well-worn surgical mask, does not know which daily life to choose. For him, Senegalese democracy is doing well after this election. “The press in Senegal allows us at each election to know the main trends a few hours after the closing of the polls. Our democracy is exemplary in Africa”, he assures.

    An opinion shared by Ngoné, in his forties, who waits at a bus stop near Nord-Foire, in Dakar. “The great strength of Senegal is that the elections are transparent. We cannot steal the votes here. According to the results that I saw last night on television, we are heading towards an Assembly in which the “The opposition will be widely represented, compared to the outgoing Assembly. All this is to the honor of the Senegalese people”, she confides.

    Source: France 24

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