In Senegal, Bassirou Diomaye Faye enters the presidential palace

“Djerijef Sonko! » (“Thank you Sonko!” in Wolof, the most spoken language in Senegal)

In Senegal, Bassirou Diomaye Faye enters the presidential palace

“Djerijef Sonko! » (“Thank you Sonko!” in Wolof, the most spoken language in Senegal). Tuesday April 2, Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in, becoming the fifth Senegalese president at the age of 44, but it was another man, Ousmane Sonko, who was most acclaimed by the audience. Sitting in the shadows, the leader of the African Patriots of Senegal party for work, ethics and fraternity (Pastef, dissolved in July 2023 by the government) did not say a word but no one said anything. deceived. Neither the director of Senegalese television, who allowed Ousmane Sonko's face to appear in the background when Bassirou Diomaye Faye raised his right hand in front of the seven judges of the Constitutional Council, nor the crowd, enthusiastic about this change.

This victory is that of two men who played perfectly to win. Prevented from running in the presidential election because of a legal conviction, the ultra-popular Ousmane Sonko left his place in the race to his number two, until then largely unknown. A winning move with an unexpected result: the opponents won by 54% in the first round.

Now Africa's youngest elected president, Bassirou Diomaye Faye presented himself in a dark blue suit at the Diamniadio exhibition center. “I am aware that the results coming out of the polls express a deep desire for systemic change,” he declared in his inauguration speech. “I will work to preserve peace and national cohesion. I will keep in mind that our most precious resource is the stability of our country. (…) It will be a country of hope and peace with an independent justice and a strengthened democracy,” he promised, under the gaze of his two wives.

“Attachment to peace and republican values”

After a lightning campaign and a meteoric rise, this anti-system candidate achieved a feat by managing to get elected. For three years, his party, with its sometimes radical discourse, has suffered severe repression which has left around sixty people dead, according to Amnesty International. Hundreds of activists have been incarcerated – even Bassirou Diomaye Faye and Ousmane Sonko were still in prison two weeks before the March 24 election. Until the end, the electoral process seemed likely to be derailed, while the vote was postponed for a month. Even the Constitutional Council, the arbiter of the vote, was in turmoil, accused of having been corrupted during the electoral process to falsify the electoral lists.

“The presidential election, which was believed to be definitively compromised, was able to be held even within a short period of time without any irregularity likely to alter the credibility of the vote being noted. (…) This is almost a miracle,” declared during his speech Mamadou Badio Camara, the president of the Constitutional Council, who also paid tribute to the outgoing Macky Sall for “his determination” to take control of the electoral process “in a Record time. » “This great people that we are, at the cost of lives lost, irreversible injuries, freedoms confiscated, careers destroyed, has shown its attachment to peace and republican values. (…) I will always keep in mind the heavy sacrifices made in order to never disappoint you,” added Bassirou Diomaye Faye to applause.

After twelve years of Macky Sall's presidency, expectations are immense for this former tax official, and there are many questions as the man quickly rose from the shadows to the top of the state. Like his mentor whose political program he helped to forge, Bassirou Diomaye Faye promised to make the fight against corruption and good governance his priorities.

“Common aspiration for more sovereignty”

His first decisions on the international level will also be scrutinized, while he advocates "new partnerships", an exit from the CFA franc and the renegotiation of mining agreements and contracts for the exploitation of oil and gas, which should start this year. Only African leaders were at the inauguration, officially for reasons of “security” and “protocol”. Other states, including France, were represented by their diplomats. Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the president of Mauritania, also current president of the African Union, Adama Barrow, head of state of the Gambia, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, president of Guinea-Bissau, made the trip, as did Guinean putschist Mamady Doumbouya.

Once announced, the soldiers at the head of Mali and Burkina Faso were finally represented. Bassirou Diomaye Faye's entourage assures that the new president wants to work towards the reintegration of the three countries of the Alliance of Sahel States within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “On the African level, the scale of the security challenges and the many challenges we face require us to have more solidarity. I hear the voice of the uninhibited elites who say loud and clear our common aspiration for more sovereignty,” declared the young head of state in front of the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, head of ECOWAS.

Bassirou Diomaye Faye then left the exhibition center, greeting the small crowd of activists present, before going to the presidential palace, where he received the honors of the Republican Guard. On the steps, he was greeted by Macky Sall, dressed in a white caftan. In the morning, the decrees terminating the functions of the Prime Minister and members of the cabinet of the President of the Republic were published in the Official Journal. The ex-president left the scene under the gaze of his former adversary. On the steps, Bassirou Diomaye Faye stood alone, without Ousmane Sonko.