Landslide victory for Senegalese President Wade's party

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afrol News, 2 May - Before all votes are even counted in the Senegalese legislative elections, officials can confirm a landslide victory for the party coalition Sopi, supported by President Abdoulaye Wade, giving it over 100 of the 120 parliamentary seats. 

The victory of the coalition Sopi, meaning "change" in Wolof, is even more significant remembering that since independence and until now, the Senegalese Socialist Party has held the parliamentary majority. Further, all parties, civil society and international observers recognise the "transparency and justice" in the election, again confirming Senegal as an exemplary democracy on African soil.

According to Senegalese press reports, the victory of the Sopi alliance is almost total. Sopi has won 27 out of the country's 30 provinces and is expected to gain over 100 of the 120 parliamentary seats.

The driving force behind the Sopi coalition is the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), which was founded by President Wade in 1974, and still is led by the 75-year-old president. Wade, himself elected President for the first time last year (his fifth candidacy for president), and his personal popularity is understood as the single most important cause behind Sopi's landslide victory. 

Wade was criticised for giving his clear support to the Sopi coalition. Critics said he should have stayed out of the contest, acting as a neutral head of state, not a party leader. The other parties, fearing the "Wade effect", even managed to prevent the coalition from putting Wade's photograph on its ballot papers. Still, Wade's support to the coalition was clear during the campaign.

Abdoulaye Wade was the first Senegalese president not coming from the Socialist Party when he came to power last year. During his first year in office, Wade has pursued a somewhat liberal policy, although he has been more visible at the international arena, preaching the merits of Panafricanism. 

The dramatic turnaround in the Senegalese parliament will open the door for Wade to put an even more personal stamp on policies. In practical terms, he will barely have opposition, after the Senegalese supported him that clearly at the elections. 

- Wade says he has always been a democrat, but now he has got more seats than is good for him, said one sceptic from the Socialist Party to the BBC, commenting on the election results. "Ironically, we could be back with a one-party system all over again". 

The official results from this year's parliamentary elections should have been announced today, 2 May, but officials from the election committee so far only have spoke about temporary results. The final results therefore only are expected tomorrow.


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