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Elections may go to runoff in Senegal, West Africa's stablest democracy (+video)

Initial results suggest that Senegal's President Wade may be forced to go for a runoff against his own protege, Macky Sall. Observers appealed for peaceful elections.

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Senegal’s presidential elections appears to be headed for a runoff, opening up a period of potential unrest in West Africa's stablest democracy.

With 10 percent of the ballots counted, President Abdoulaye Wade is estimated to have won just 24 percent of the vote, with his nearest competitor in a field of 13 candidates having won 21 percent. According to Senegalese law, a presidential candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff election.

It’s far from the crushing victory that President Wade predicted and reflects the divisions he unleashed by running for a third term after promising to serve only two. A runoff, if handled well, could bring settlement to that dispute. But any runoff would put democracy to the test in Senegal, the one country in the region never to have had a military coup d'etat.

Overall, the vote on Sunday appeared to be peaceful and orderly across the country. But as Wade cast his vote in Dakar, he was booed by crowds at the polling station, the BBC reported. Some Senegalese shouted, “Get out, old man,” while others chanted: “Go away Wade.”

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