• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Who is Bassirou Diomaye Faye? 44-year-old ex-prisoner tipped to be next Senegalese president

Tinubu hails Faye, Senegalese president-elect

Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a 44-year-old tax officer, is coasting to Senegal presidency.

Faye, a leader of the opposition party, contested in the presidential election held on Sunday alongside 18 other candidates following three years of turbulence and protest against Macky Sall, the incumbent president of the West African country.

Early results from the poll showed the opposition leader in a comfortable lead triggering widespread celebration on the streets of Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

Five candidates, including Anta Babacar Ngom, the only female in the race, have declared Faye as winner of the election. However, Amadou Ba, the ruling coalition’s choice, said a run-off might be necessary to determine the winner.

If declared winner, the 44-year-old candidate will be West Africa’s youngest democratically elected president.

But, who is Bassirou Diomaye Faye?

Born in 1980 in Ndiaganiao, Senegal, Faye completed his baccalaureate (university bachelor’s degree) in 2000. He went on to earn a master’s degree in law and passed competitive exams to enroll at the National School of Administration (ENA) and the magistracy in 2004.

After graduation, he chose a career as a tax inspector in the Tax and Estates department.

Faye’s relationship with Ousmane Sonko, a fellow alum from ENA, grew closer in 2014 within the Taxes and Estates Union, created by Sonko.

The frontline presidential candidate campaigned for homeownership facilitation for tax and property agents during his time at the head of the union.

Initially a guest at PASTEF’s founding, Faye quickly became a prominent figure within the party. He was one of the ideologues and designers of Sonko’s program for his 2019 presidential candidacy, where Sonko secured almost 16% of the vote and came third.

In February 2021, following Sonko’s arrest, Faye became the general secretary of PASTEF. He played a pivotal role in uniting the opposition for the 2022 elections under the ‘Liberate the People’ alliance, which won 56 seats.

After uncertainty over Sonko’s eligibility for the presidential election, PASTEF endorsed Faye as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election, despite the party being dissolved and his detainment. His candidacy was validated as he was never convicted.

On January 20, 2024, the Senegalese Constitutional Council published the final list of candidates, excluding Sonko after several legal battles. Sonko then announced his support for Faye.

Faye’s first public appearance as a presidential contender on March 15, 2024, attracted hundreds of supporters, just a day after his release from jail.

Former president Abdoulaye Wade and his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) endorsed Faye, boosting his chances of winning the election. This endorsement came after PDS candidate Karim Wade was disqualified from the race due to dual citizenship issues at the time of his candidacy submission.

Early results from the presidential election showed that Faye is coasting to victory. It is not clear how many of the 15,633 polling stations have been counted so far. Final provisional results are expected by Tuesday.