Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade conceded defeat to his rival Macky Sall in a presidential election runoff. Admitting his defeat in the election, Wade called and congratulated Sall, the Senegal state television reported.
Wade's acceptance of the election results allayed fears that he might challenge the runoff results. As soon as preliminary reports indicated Sall's victory, thousands of his supporters thronged the streets and celebrated his win, Reuters reported.
Many supporters were seen beating drums, dancing and singing in the streets and even on roof tops, Reuters report said.
It is the whole country that has just won, Amadou Sall, a spokesman for Wade, told Reuters. This is a big moment for democracy and President Abdoulaye Wade has respected the voice of the people.
Meanwhile, Macky Sall praised voters for bringing in the change and said Tonight, a new era begins for Senegal, Telegraph reported.
Wade, 85, fought a tight presidential race in two rounds. In the first round, Wade did manage to garner 34.8 percent of votes as against Sall's 26.6 percent, but he had to face a runoff as he could not manage to reach the threshold limit for an outright win. The second round of elections, however, went in Sall's favor.
Wade's decision to contest for a third term was criticized as being unconstitutional by his rivals and led to unrest in the otherwise peaceful country. His popularity plummeted after he announced his decision to run for the president for the third term.
By choosing to contest for the third term, Wade in fact bypassed the constitutional amendment that fixed a term limit for presidents, which he himself had introduced. Wade had justified his decision arguing that the law didn't apply to him as he had assumed office before the amendment came into effect. His stance was endorsed by the country's highest court in a verdict two months back. Protests and violence had erupted in Senegal following the court verdict.
Wade was once considered an undisputable leader of the masses. After assuming office 12 years ago, he ushered development in almost every sector in the country. The ruling party is still popular for the development process initiated especially in the construction sector, according to an nst.com report.
But Wade's administration started losing ground during his second term as he failed to retain the economic momentum. According to a World Bank report, half of the Senegalese population lives below the poverty line and unemployment is widespread in the country. People also lost faith in him after he started violating the country's laws and constitutions for his benefit.