Senegal's Sall Takes Strong Lead in Partial Vote Results

(Bloomberg) -- Senegalese President Macky Sall took the lead in Sunday’s presidential vote, according to the preliminary results from more than half of the country’s 45 departments.

Sall won 61.8 percent of the 2.7 million votes counted in 29 departments that were reported by state-owned Agence de Presse Senegalaise and tallied by Bloomberg. While there are 6.7 million registered voters in the West African nation, officials haven’t released the turnout rate, which historically has been between 50 and 60 percent.

Facing four opposition candidates, Sall requires a majority of the vote to avoid a run-off. His two main opponents, ex-prime minister Idrissa Seck and Ousmane Sonko, a former tax inspector, have won 18.4 percent and 14.1 percent respectively, according to the results reported by APS.

Departmental electoral commissions have until noon on Tuesday to publish their preliminary results, which can be challenged by the candidates. The National Vote Counting Commission will compile departmental tallies and is expected to announce the final outcome on Friday.

Sall, a 57-year-old former geological engineer, is seeking re-election after a seven-year term of rapid economic growth and the completion of major infrastructure projects that include multi-lane highways and an express commuter train for the capital, Dakar. Despite his strong economic record, critics say Sall has eroded democracy by using courts to sideline two opposition figures, the former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, and Karim Wade, the son of a former president. Both were convicted of corruption and barred from the election.

The results of the most populous departments, such as Dakar and the central city of Mbacke, haven’t yet been published.

While Sonko and Seck are likely to attract some support from young urban voters, “Sall will probably retain significant support there while he has also a lead in other major cities,” Adeline Van Houtte, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, said by email. “Overall Macky Sall seems to be in a good position to win re-election in a first round.”

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