DAKAR (AFP) – Senegal’s ruling coalition yesterday acknowledged defeat in two local polls seen as a key test of support ahead of an eagerly-awaited general election.
President Macky Sall’s alliance said it lost the capital Dakar and the country’s largest southern city Ziguinchor in Sunday’s mayoral and local ballots.
The vote, seen as a litmus test for Sall, were the first in his West African country since deadly riots last year over the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.
“Overall, the national trend shows our coalition winning easily in several regional capitals,” the ruling Bennoo Bokk Yaakaar alliance said in a statement on Sunday. “But our bid to take Dakar and Ziguinchor has not been conclusive.”
Final results have not yet been declared but the mayoral vote in Ziguinchor, capital of Casamance, appears to have been won by Sonko.
Sonko is seen as one of the main contenders to replace 60-year-old Sall in the forthcoming 2024 presidential election.
Sall was first elected in 2012 on promises to help the poor in the nation of 17 million people. He won a second term in 2019, beating Sonko, but has come under increasing criticism since then.