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Senegal and Neighboring Nations Celebrate Peaceful Elections

[All links forward to French articles unless stated otherwise]

An historical ending to  a tense electoral period took place in Senegal [en] on March 25, 2012. As he appeared to have been defeated soundly [en] by ex-prime minister and challenger, Macky Sall [en], acting President Wade [en] telephoned his adversary to congratulate him on his victory, even before the publication of the official final results. Such a move has previously been unheard of in the region.

The Senegalese are celebrating these peaceful elections, which have allowed the political alternative to express itself. Indeed, there were reasons to fear further clashes in light of the pre-election violence [en]. Celebrities and citizens alike have expressed their relief.

Place de l'obélisque by Nd1mbee on Flickr with his permission

Place de l'obélisque by Nd1mbee on Flickr with his permission

This taxi driver started to dance spontaneously in the streets of Dakar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch9UoFdL5ak&feature=related

Singer Youssou N'Dour, who campaigned for Macky Sall, also reacted positively to the result as seen in this video:

As did fashion designer Diouma Diakhaté:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlWePG_uEu8&feature=related

The flood of media and Internet reactions have not stopped since news of this phone call was made public. Many of the commentators in the neighboring nations had been dreaming of such a change in their own country.

Gabon 

Blogger Steve Beko wrote an article entitled ‘Election of Macky Sall in Senegal: The First Lessons of a Victory' on the website Gabon Libre (Free Gabon). Maboundou Mounbamba left the following comment after the article:

Bravo aux Sénégalais , sa c'est un vrai exemple de démocratie pas celle qu'on a de nom au Gabon , honnêtement suis jaloux des sénégalais et les encourage sur cette voie, pour vu que ça nous serve d'exemple

Bravo people of Senegal! This is a real example of democracy, not the thing we call democracy in Gabon. Honestly, I am jealous of the Senegalese and I encourage them on this road, let's hope that this serves as an example to us.

Côte d'Ivoire

Regime change has also come to Côte d'Ivoire, but at the cost of many human lives. The Ivorian website Ivorian.net posted an article which attracted many comments from the Ivory Coast community and brought back some old grudges between the supporters of President Alassane Ouattara [en] and those of his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo [en].

Satchmo makes a philosophical comment on Macky Sall's victory:

Belle leçon de démocratie que cette victoire du peuple sénégalais. Bien entendu Wade aurait pu s’entêter comme Gbagbo mais, il a eu l’élégance et surtout la courtoisie d’appeler son challenger. La est tout ce qui grandi et anobli.
 On peut polémiquer à vau l’eau sur les causes et les motivations profondes du geste mais c’est au crédit de Wade. La démocratie est un bébé qui grandit et qui a besoin d’être entretenu par la clairvoyance des différents leaders qui défilent a la tête de l’Etat.

Great lesson in democracy and a victory for all the Senegalese people. Of course Wade could have persisted like Gbagbo but he had the elegance and the courtesy to call his challenger. There we have all that is great and noble. We could create a controversy on the causes and underlying motivations of this gesture, but it is a credit to Wade. Democracy is a baby which is growing up, and which must be looked after by the clearsightedness of the various leaders who attain the position of head of state.

Alain Monier adds:

Qu’une alternance démocratique ait eu lieu rien ne pouvait s’y opposer si ce n’était les derniers soubresauts d’un vieil homme perdu dans des songes sans consistance aucune. Le bon droit a prévalu et c’est heureux.

A democratic regime change has taken place and nothing could stop it except for maybe the last flurries of an old man lost in his illusion. Justice has prevailed, and that is great.

Guinea

In Guinea [en], reactions reflect the difficulties that arose from the deep social divisions within the country that the election of President Alpha Condé [en] has not been able to eliminate. Alluding to the custom of Guineans to add “democratically elected” each time Alpha Condé has been mentioned, Camara Boubacar wrote in a comment after an article posted on the Guinea News website:

 Macky Sall est le Président élu du Sénégal. Ni lui, ni ses laudateurs, ni la presse sénégalaise n'ajoutera à la fonction du Président de la République le titre ” Démocratiquement élu ” comme pour justifier ce qui lui aurait maqué pour être le légitime représentant du peuple sénégalais.

Macky Sall is the President-Elect of Senegal. Neither him, nor his lackeys, nor the Senegalese press will be adding the phrase “democratically elected” after the title of President of the Republic, as if to vindicate shady dealings on the road to becoming the legitimate representative of the Senegalese people.

On the same website, blogger Dielta finds that the results of the Senegalese elections are:

Une victoire et un honneur pour le peuple sénégalais et ça doit être une leçon de morale pour les guinéens. Car il est temps que les guinéens sachent aussi que seule une élection objective peut être bénéfique pour tous. Il est temps que nous changions le changement en Guinée.

A victory and an honour for the Senegalese people and that must be a moral lesson for Guineans. Because it is time that Guineans also know that only an objective election can be beneficial for all. It is time to ring in the changes in Guinea.
Demonstrators show their joy by Nd1mbee on Flickr, used with his permission

Demonstrators show their joy by Nd1mbee on Flickr, used with his permission

Togo

Sylvio Combey wrote an article on his blog saying:

Ce qui importe, c’est l’alternance. Wade a fait deux mandats et est bouté dehors. Au Togo, on maintient la même famille au pouvoir depuis bientôt 50 ans.

The important thing is that change has come. Wade has completed two terms and has been booted out. In Togo, we have kept the same family in power for the last 50 years.

Mali

There are many observations from Mali bloggers on the site Maliweb. An article informs us that when the time came to put his ballot paper in the box, Abdoulaye Wade turned up empty handed because he had left it in the booth. Thinking of the elections that should have taken place in his country, Liqui wrote:

Wade a suivi ce qui s’est passé au Mali, voila une des raisons pour lesquelles il félicite Macky, sans qu’on ne finisse avec le dépouillement!
 donc leçon bien reçue!!!

Wade has followed what happened in Mali, that is one of the reasons he congratulated Macky, even though they have not finished counting the votes yet! Obviously the lesson was well learned!!!

Coulibaly also expressed his point of view:

Démontrons au monde entier que l’apparence trompe et que le peuple malien est mûr, et non naïf de mème que l’armée malienne. Ce sont les epreuves qui donnent les meilleures leçons,pour qui veut bien apprendre.Rappellons aussi avec respect les morts de la campagne senegalaise ainsi que les degats!

Let us show the whole world that appearances can be deceptive and the people of Mali are mature, and not naive like the Malian army. These are the trials that teach the most valuable lessons for those who are willing to learn. Let us also remember with respect the people who died during the Senegalese campaign as well as all the destruction!

Burkina-Faso

Citizens of Burkina-Faso [en] also rejoiced after the Senegalese elections. Among the many people who commented about them on website lefaso.net, was Sylvie who wrote:

Moi je serai plus direct. Malgré les achats de conscience et les menaces, tout pouvoir a necessairement une fin. Nos dirigeants doivent se mettre cette idée dans la tête. Le peuple vous jugera.

I would be more direct. Despite all the threats and purchasing of votes, all power necessarily must come to an end. Our leaders must get that idea through their heads. The people will be the final judge.

Ms Kaboré gave her opinion on the same point:

Les senegalais ont montré qu ils savent ce qu est la vraie democratie, et tout pouvoir fini par s’ éfriter [sic] et se perdre avec le temps. le Burkina doit prendre l’exemple sur le Senegal.

The Senegalese have shown that they know what real democracy is, and all power erodes, ends and gets lost with time. The people of Burkina must follow Senegal's example.
Mauritania
In Mauritania [en], the political opposition celebrated the smooth proceedings of the election in the following terms:
La Coordination de l’Opposition Démocratique, en félicitant le Président Macky Sall pour la confiance que le peuple du Sénégal vient de lui accorder ainsi que le Président Abdoulaye Wade pour le fair-play dont il a fait preuve, rend un vibrant hommage à l’expérience démocratique sénégalaise, unique en son genre en Afrique.
The head of the Democratic Opposition congratulates President Macky Sall for the trust that the people of Senegal have just placed in him, as well as the outgoing President Abdoulaye Wade for the sense of fair play he has shown. We pay tribute to the Senegalese democratic achievement that is quite unique in its kind in Africa.
It seems clear that the citizens of countries neighbouring Senegal would also like to have free elections which are transparent and fair in their own countries.

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