Senegal’s Sall Claims Win as Rivals Say Poll Heads for Runoff

(Bloomberg) -- Senegal President Macky Sall’s government claimed he had won Sunday’s presidential elections outright while his opponents said the vote is heading for a runoff as ballot counting continued.

Sall, a 57-year-old geological engineer, was seen as the favorite to win the race for the presidency after a seven-year term of rapid economic growth. Preliminary results from regional voting centers are expected from Tuesday and an official announcement by Friday.

Two of Sall’s opponents, ex-prime minister Idrissa Seck and Ousmane Sonko, a former tax inspector, said in a joint press conference Sunday that the four opposition candidates had won 50 percent of the vote needed to force a runoff. Prime Minister Mahammed Dionne told reporters Sall had won at least 57 percent of the vote.

Sall could be vulnerable in a runoff, said Martin Roberts, an analyst with IHS Markit in London.

“The claims for and against a second round underline how much the president and his rivals know the picture could change if a run-off is necessary,” said Roberts. “Even if Macky Sall falls just short of 50 percent, he is unlikely to pick up any support from losing candidates.”

In 2012, Sall beat former President Abdoulaye Wade after galvanizing the opposition to back him in a second-round vote.

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