Macky Sall won the contentious presidential election in Senegal, with a smooth transition of power easing international fears the vote would cause violence in the West African country.
As the results of Sunday's run-off vote came in, incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade telephoned Sall to concede defeat early Monday morning, allaying concerns Senegal would follow its neighbor Mali, where the government was overthrown in a coup last week.
Results coming in suggest Mr. Macky Sall has won. As I always promised, I called him in the evening of March 25 to congratulate him, Wade was quoted as saying by Reuters.
In power since 2000, the 80-year-old Wade began his tenure as president with strong democratic credentials but drew international criticism in his bid for a third term.
After Senegal's Constitutional Council decided to allow Wade to seek re-election, violent protests spread nationwide, resulting in six deaths.
The big winner tonight is the Senegalese people, Sall, 50, said of the election, according to the Associated Press. We have shown to the world our democracy is mature. I will be the president of all the Senegalese.
Sall, a former prime minister under Wade, fought a bitter campaign against his one-time political mentor. They parted ways in 2008.
There were jubilant scenes on the streets of Senegal's capital, Dakar, Reuters reported. Senegalese citizens had expressed subdued hope after Wade's 12-year presidency.
I voted Socialist in the first round but I am glad Sall won. Now we have to watch him to make sure he sticks to his promises, shoe salesman Mamadou Barry, 32, told Reuters.
At last, 12 years of misery are over. Now we have hope of change, added 52-year-old Soul Dias, a chauffeur in Dakar.