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Senegal's Wade faces tough competition in runoff election

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Rebecca Blackwell/AP

(Read caption) Opposition presidential candidate and former prime minister Macky Sall addresses journalists during a press conference at a hotel in Dakar, Senegal Feb. 29. Sall said that if he wins a presidential runoff next month, he will revise the constitution to reduce the presidential term from seven to five years and that he will apply the shorter term to himself, as well as the two-term limit that is already present in the constitution.

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• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, Africa Works. The views expressed are the author's own.

In a recent article for the Atlantic.com, I complained about the vanity of Senegal’s president, Wade, who rather than stepping into retirement after two terms has insisted on running for a third. He even went so far as to alter the constitution to do so. Senegalese voters responded [last] week by repudiating Wade, who received barely more than one-third of the vote. Now he must stand in a runoff against a challenger who nearly matched his vote totals. The challenger, Macky Sall, is already appealing to the 11 other challengers in the race. So far, he’s won an endorsement from the third-highest vote-getter.

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