Senegal is on edge awaiting the outcome of its presidential election, as the opposition candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye gains momentum. Faye, who was recently released from prison, is leading the race, but the governing coalition insists that a run-off will likely be necessary.

The winning candidate will face the challenge of guiding Senegal, known for its democracy in a turbulent region, through political crises and managing upcoming oil and gas revenues. The uncertainty surrounding the election results lingers, with official outcomes expected later this week, requiring an absolute majority for a first-round victory.

Faye, an anti-establishment figure, has proposed significant changes and a left-wing pan-African presidential agenda. Initial results from polling stations suggest he is ahead of Amadou Ba, the former prime minister from the governing coalition. The race featured 17 candidates, with Faye and Ba emerging as the main contenders.

Faye’s supporters are optimistic about his chances, while Ba’s campaign hints at the possibility of a second round. A victory for Faye could mark a significant shift for Senegal, with promises to address corruption, renegotiate contracts, and empower the youth population. The election, marred by delays and tensions, has drawn widespread attention from international observers.

The outcome of the election will shape Senegal’s future trajectory, with the choice between continuity under Ba or a new direction with Faye. The country’s young population plays a crucial role in this decision, as they look towards leadership that represents change and progress. Ultimately, the election will determine Senegal’s path forward amidst challenges and opportunities on the horizon.