Senegal: D-Day for Bassirou Diomaye Faye, Dawn of Major Challenges for the Country

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

As the youngest president in the country’s history, 44-year-old Bassirou Diomaye Faye is set to be inaugurated today, the expectations of Senegalese citizens are numerous. Elected by 54.3% of voters in the first round, his presidency commences with significant challenges. What will be his priorities and how will he proceed?

Bassirou Diomaye Faye, the youngest president of Senegal and a left-wing pan-Africanist, elected on the promise of breaking away from the existing system, takes his oath on Tuesday, April 2, after a rapid rise to power, facing challenges as substantial as the hopes placed upon him. Never before elected, at 44, he became the fifth president of the West African country since independence in 1960.

The inauguration ceremony is scheduled for late morning in Diamniadio, near Dakar. Bassirou Diomaye Faye succeeds Macky Sall, 62, who has led the country of 18 million people for twelve years, maintaining strong relations with the West and France. Several heads of state, including representatives of military juntas from the Sahel, are expected to attend (see sidebar below).

The transfer of power between Mr. Sall and Mr. Faye will then take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

This electoral alternation, the third in Senegal’s history, marks the end of a three-year standoff between Macky Sall and the winning duo of the March 24 presidential election: Bassirou D. Faye and Ousmane Sonko, who disqualified, ultimately endorsed him.

Hailed by Paris, Washington, and the African Union, his election, celebrated by jubilant crowds, followed three years of tension and unrest that claimed dozens of lives. Senegal, known as an island of stability in West Africa, experienced a new crisis in February when President Sall postponed the presidential election, deepening distrust between part of the population and its leaders.


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