Senegal Ordains Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a Former Opposition Politician.

Senegal Ordains Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a Former Opposition Politician.

Less than two weeks before the election on March 24, Faye and mentor Ousmane Sonko were freed from prison as part of a political amnesty declared by departing President Macky Sall. The former tax inspector is holding this elected job for the first time.

Aissata Sagna, a 39-year-old factory worker who assisted Faye in her campaign, described it as the “culmination of a long struggle for democracy and the rule of law.” “Even though there were young people killed during the demonstrations, we still celebrate today.”

Senegal’s standing as a stable democracy in West Africa—a region plagued by coups and attempted coups—was put to the test by the election. It came after months of upheaval sparked by Sonko and Faye’s arrests last year and worries that the president will run for office again in defiance of the constitution’s term restrictions. According to rights groups, around 1,000 people were arrested, and scores of people died during the protests.

The 44-year-old Faye ran her office to fight corruption and improve the nation’s resource management. Opponents interpreted his win as a reflection of the will of youth disgruntled with high rates of unemployment and the former colonial power France, which they believed was abusing its connection to Senegal for its financial gain.

These frustrations are typical in many African nations, including home to the world’s youngest population, where many leaders have clung to power for decades.

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