AFRICA/SENEGAL - Faye's victory confirmed: "Victory of democracy, but the future remains incertain"

Tuesday, 26 March 2024 elections   missionaries  

Dakar (Agenzia Fides) - "It is a great proof of democracy on the part of the Senegalese", says Father Bruno Favero, OMI missionary in Senegal for 30 years, commenting on the electoral victory of the opposition Bassirou Diomaye Faye (see Fides, 25/3/2024) who until 10 days ago was still in prison. Although the official results of the March 24 vote have not yet been released, Faye has been recognized as the winner by all other candidates, including Prime Minister Amadou Ba and outgoing President Macky Sall. Faye has declared: “I am committed to governing with humility and transparency, promoting national reconciliation.” “I address a special thought to women and young people. An important part of the nation's resources will be allocated to reducing their suffering and lack of expectations,” the President-elect continued, insisting on the need to “release the creative energies of every Senegalese.” “The old political class is out, rejected by the popular vote, especially the young, who want profound change in the country,” says Father Bruno. “However, once the euphoria of the electoral victory has passed, we will have to see how the new president behaves,” says the missionary. There are several issues to address. Firstly, the relationship between Faye and his sponsor, Ousmane Sonko, the leader of the Pastef party, who was unable to vote because he was definitively condemned by the Supreme Court. Faye was nominated instead of him, with the motto 'Ousmane is equal to Faye and Faye is equal to Ousmane'. But how will the latter act? Will he want to be the president's 'great advisor' behind the scenes? And if so, how will Faye react, will he agree or will he try to throw out those who allowed him to access the presidency?”, Father Bruno asks. “A possible response may be the creation of the figure, until now non-existent, of the vice president, as foreshadowed in Faye's electoral program. If this role were created, it could be assumed by Ousmane,” says the missionary. “Another unknown is how the State machinery will react to the wind of change that the new president has promised to impose,” continues Father Bruno. “In addition, Faye does not have a stable majority, because the legislative elections will be held in four years. Parliament remains the one that supported the outgoing president, Sall. It is true that what they call the phenomenon of 'transhumance' occurs here, that is, the movement of deputies towards those in power, but it remains to be seen how the newly elected Head of State will manage to gain the support of the Parliament". Finally, the missionary concludes, “we must see how Faye will move in the economic field with respect to the contracts already signed with Western multinationals for the exploitation of the gas and oil reserves recently discovered in Senegal.” (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/3/2024)