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The BBC's Mark Doyle in Dakar
"He's always cracking jokes, he's got a great sense of humour, but he's also quite a serious man."
 real 28k

Monday, 20 March, 2000, 15:33 GMT
Senegal votes for change
Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal
Mr Wade has been congratulated by Mr Diouf
Senegalese President Abdou Diouf has conceded defeat as the results of Sunday's presidential election come in.


This is a day of liberation. It is the dawn of a new era, and that is the most important thing.

Mr Wade
The news has resulted in jubilation in the capital Dakar, where people cheered and motorists blared their horns to celebrate.

Abdoulaye Wade's victory ends 40 years of uninterrupted rule by Mr Diouf's Socialist Party.

"The President telephoned Mr Wade, the elected president of the republic, on Monday morning to congratulate warmly him on his victory," a statement from the Presidency said.


Abdou Diouf of Senegal
President Diouf said he would retire if not re-elected
The statement which was read on a local FM station also further extended wishes of good will to Mr Wade "in this noble and exalting task at the service of the Senegalese people as a whole".

Mr Wade, who is 74 years old, received the backing of five of the leading opposition candidates, in an electoral deal that will give the job of prime minister to the third placed candidate, Moustapha Niasse.

Early confidence

Soon after the polls closed on Sunday, thousands of very confident Wade supporters gathered around his house to begin their celebrations.



It is another Senegal that is coming to life today

President-elect Abdoulaye Wade
Mr Wade himself was almost certain of victory, even before the results started coming in.

"Today is a day of joy. You know, it is the end that explains what preceded a process. I have been striving for 20 years. And today, I am very happy by the fact that what seemed impossible is now a reality," he told reporters.


Abdoulaye Wade
Mr Wade is promising a clean and transparent government
The newly-elected president first ran for the presidency in 1978 against ex-President Leopold Senghor.

This was his fifth attempt at the presidency.

"It is another Senegal that is coming to life today and I am very happy to know that when I leave this earth, I would leave another Senegal different from the one we knew. For me, the past is behind me. I am putting a cross on the past," Mr Wade said on Sunday.

A day of liberation

"This is a day of liberation; this is a day of liberation. It is the dawn of a new era, and that is the most important thing," he proclaimed on Sunday, as he called on his supporters to prepare for the task ahead.

Mr Wade also explained why he declined to give promises during the election campaign.

"I am a realistic man and that is why I did not make any promise. If anything, I promised the Senegalese people a certain number of principles that should henceforth govern the national life: They are probity, good work and above all the involvement of the youth in the construction of Senegal," he said.

Mr Diouf - who is 64 years old - has been in power for 19 years.

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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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