Senegal Elects 44-Year-Old Tax Inspector, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, Days After Release from Prison

Senegal Elects 44-Year-Old Tax Inspector, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, Days After Release from Prison

Senegal has elected a new president, Bassirou Diomaye Faye. The 44-year-old former tax inspector and political newcomer has been declared the winner of the presidential election. This victory comes just weeks after his release from prison.

Born in 1980 in west-central Senegal’s Ndiaganiao, Faye met his mentor Ousmane Sonko while working as a tax inspector at the Taxes and Estates department. They were instrumental in the formation of a union Faye was a key figure in the Patriots of Senegal (PASTEF) party, which was founded by Sonko in 2014. However, the party was dissolved in July 2023 due to causing unrest.

Faye was arrested in April 2023 on charges including spreading false news, contempt of court, and defamation of a constituted body, for a social media post. He was released from prison more than a week before the presidential election.

Faye contested the elections as an independent candidate. His campaign was boosted by Sonko’s charisma and popular appeal amongst Senegal’s youth. Despite being a political newcomer, Faye managed to secure a lead that nobody saw coming.

The former prime minister Amadou Ba conceded defeat to Faye. This was followed by a congratulatory message from President Macky Sall. Faye’s victory marks a significant moment in Senegal’s democratic tradition.

In his first speech since announcing his victory, Faye presented his election as “the choice of a break with the past” and placed “national reconciliation” among his “priority projects”. He has pledged to weed out corruption, restore stability, and prioritize economic sovereignty.

As the youngest head of state in the country’s history, Faye’s presidency is expected to bring a fresh perspective to Senegal’s politics. The nation and the world watch with anticipation as Faye prepares to take up residence in the Senegalese presidential palace for the next five years.

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