RULING PARTY SUFFERS DEFEAT IN SENEGAL’S POLLS


Senegalese voters delivered a serious blow to President Abdoulaye Wade in local elections and damaged his son’s chances of succeeding him in 2012, partial results showed on Monday.

Incomplete results from Sunday’s election on local media showed Wade’s ruling SOPI coalition lost control of the council in the capital Dakar and other key cities in the West African country such as St Louis and Louga.

The elections were widely seen as a referendum on the 82-year-old Wade’s government and widespread expectation that his son Karim will stand when his father’s second and final term ends in 2012.

Senegal has long been seen as a rare democracy in the region, but Wade’s critics say his rule has been increasingly authoritarian. Meanwhile, social pressures have increased due to rising prices and the global economic slowdown.

Wade’s son, already a presidential adviser and head of a powerful state agency, was almost guaranteed his first elected position as a member of Dakar council, but without a majority the ruling coalition’s influence will be limited.

The partial results indicated the opposition coalition Benno Siggil Senegaal (United to put right Senegal) would win enough seats to be able to name the capital’s mayor.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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