Bassirou Diomaye Faye sworn in as Senegal’s 5th president

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in Tuesday in Diamniadio as Senegal’s fifth president, having defeated main rival and ruling party coalition candidate Amadou Ba and winning the delayed election with over 54% of the vote.

Following the ceremony in Diamniadio, which is about an hour from the center of the capital, Dakar, Faye reassured the people who elected him that he’s ready to move Senegal forward, saying the election results showed a profound desire for systemic change.

The Senegalese people have chosen to build a country that is just, he said, adding that he will work tirelessly to preserve the peace and national cohesion.

At 44, Faye is the youngest man elected president in Senegal.

Maimouna Dieye, who leads the women’s wing of the opposition Pasteef party, has been working with Faye for the past 10 years. She said Faye might not have much experience in running a country, but he has a lot of experience in his field, including 15 years as a tax inspector.

Dieye said she believes Faye will deliver on his proposed solutions to the everyday problems of ordinary Senegalese.

Jean Charles Biagui, researcher and political science professor at the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, said it will be important for the new government to make some changes right away, primarily reducing the advantages associated with government officials’ lifestyles.

That way, he said, the ordinary Senegalese can see that those who are running the country are serving the nation and not serving themselves.

Biagui also said it’s time to think about what constitutes good governance. Governments of the past few decades have provided little to no assessments of what they have accomplished, he said, but the Senegalese people want their leaders to account for what they’ve done.

Meanwhile, many of the new president’s supporters who witnessed the swearing in are hopeful the tensions of the last few months will fade away and be replaced by the hope that their country’s reputation as a beacon of democracy in West Africa is restored.

The presidents of neighboring Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as high-level officials from other African nations, attended.

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