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The BBC's Mark Doyle in Dakar
"The real test of Senegal's democracy may come after the voting"
 real 28k

The BBC's Mark Doyle in Dakar
"Full official results are not expected for a day or two"
 real 28k

Monday, 20 March, 2000, 04:14 GMT
Opposition confident in Senegal poll
supporters
Supporters gathered outside Mr Wade's home
By West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle

Thousands of people have gathered outside the house of the Senegal's opposition leader, Abdoulaye Wade, to celebrate what they say is his victory in Sunday's presidential elections.

Mr Wade stopped short of claiming that he had been elected president of Senegal, but said he strongly believed he had won.

The tightly-fought poll has been closely followed throughout Africa as Senegal is one of the continent's oldest democracies although paradoxically the ruling party, led by President Abdou Diouf, has never lost an election.

There has been no official statement from President Diouf.

Celebrations

A huge street party erupted outside Mr Wade's house within hours of the polling stations closing.

Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade strongly believes he has won
Although no official results have yet been published, usually reliable local broadcasters have been announcing the figures of individual polling stations.

These results showed Mr Wade to be doing very well in urban areas.

When asked if he was now claiming to be the President of Senegal, Mr Wade replied: "No, I can't say I am claiming but I believe strongly that I have won this election."

'Victory for democracy'

If Abdoulaye Wade has indeed won the Senegalese elections it would be a victory for African democracy.

Senegal has many of the attributes of being democratic, such as a free press and a relatively independent judiciary.

But the near monopoly power of the ruling Socialists has been an embarrassment to a country which claimed to be a modern liberal state on a continent where authoritarian rulers dominate.
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See also:

28 Feb 00 | Africa
Row over Senegal vote
27 Feb 00 | Africa
High turnout for Senegal poll
25 Feb 00 | Africa
Election violence in Senegal
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