Opposition candidates earlier rejected reports of an out-right victory for Macky Sall, saying their tallies pointed to a second round of voting. But they didn’t challenge the official results, and the country’s highest court has now confirmed the incumbent's re-election.
A geological engineer by training, Macky Sall hails from the small town of Fatick in Western Senegal. He began his political career in the late 1990s, becoming minister of mines, energy, and hydraulics in May 2001, and being elected mayor of his hometown in June 2002.
Sall quickly rose on the national Senegalese political scene, following his mentor former president Abdoulaye Wade. He held the position of prime minister from April 2004 to June 2007 then president of the national assembly from June 2007 to November 2008 – when a conflict with Wade led to his dismissal.
He after created his own party and mounted a challenge to Wade’s controversial bid for a third presidential term. Sall managed to unite the opposition against his former mentor and won the 2012 Senegalese vote runoff.
When he took office in April 2012 at the age of 51, Sall was hailed as one of Africa’s top 10 youngest leaders.
His first term was marked by a $7.5 billion economic development plan dubbed “Emergent Senegal” aimed at spurring economic growth. The ambitious scheme, which has entailed building a new airport, train line and motorway for capital Dakar, is credited with boosting the country’s economic growth to more than six percent - one of the highest in Africa.
On the political stage, Sall was criticized for squeezing out rivals after two powerful opposition figures were disqualified from running for the 2019 presidential election over convictions for misuse of public funds, convictions they say were engineered against them to bar them from running.
Senegal has long been viewed as West Africa's most stable democracy, with peaceful transitions of power since it gained independence from France in 1960.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)