Elections may go to runoff in Senegal, West Africa's stablest democracy (+video)
President Wade came to power promising to help turn Senegal into West Africa’s Singapore, and during his tenure, the country has experienced 4 percent growth rates, higher literacy rates, and increased life spans. It has also attracted an influx of foreign investors and French banks. What makes this influx all the more remarkable is the fact that Senegal is not an oil-rich economy, like Nigeria, or rich in natural resources such as gold, like Ivory Coast and Ghana. As the Wall Street Journal's reporter, Drew Hinshaw writes, Senegal’s main attraction is its stability and its relatively large educated work force.
Wade remains popular for these achievements in many parts of the country, but for urban youths – 30 percent of whom remain unemployed even in these prosperous times – Wade is the man to blame for their sorrows.
Following a Constitutional Court decision, allowing Wade to run for a third term, heavy protests broke out in the capital city of Dakar. Police dispersed the crowds with tear gas, truncheons, and rubber bullets, and six people were killed. Youth activists promised to make the country “ungovernable” if Wade won the election, and opposition candidates said protests would continue if it appeared there were any irregularities in how votes were tallied.
"I wish to tell Wade that everyone is watching Senegal. He needs to make sure that the vote is extremely transparent," international pop star Youssou N'dour was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. Mr. N’dour had planned to run against Wade but was disqualified on a technicality by the constitutional court. "We will not accept for someone to twist our ballot."