HeadlineBassirou Faye Sworn In As Senegal’s President

Bassirou Faye Sworn In As Senegal’s President

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April 02, (THEWILL) – Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in on Tuesday, as Senegal’s youngest president.

Faye, 44, who had never before held an elected office, swept the poll at a first-round victory on a pledge of radical reform just 10 days after he was released from prison.

THEWILL reports that the presidential elections held on Sunday, March 24, saw Faye, pull a lead in a crowd of seventeen presidential candidates, including prominent figures like Amadou Ba (age 62), a former minister of economy and finance and then foreign affairs, and also the Sall’s preferred successor, Idrissa Seck (age 64), a former prime minister and a 4-time presidential candidate and Khalifa Sall (age 68), the leader of the Taxawu Senegal coalition.

Taking his oath of office on Tuesday, Several African leaders, including Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu attended his inaugural ceremony in the new town of Diamniadio, near the capital Dakar.

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfil the office of President of the Republic of Senegal” Faye swore before the gathered officials.

He also vowed to “scrupulously observe the provisions of the Constitution and the laws” and to defend “the integrity of the territory and national independence, and to spare no effort to achieve African unity.”

The formal handover of power with outgoing President Macky Sall will take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

Faye was among a group of political opponents freed from prison 10 days before the March 24 presidential ballot under an amnesty announced by Sall, who had tried to delay the vote.0

The former tax inspector became the West African state’s fifth president since independence from France in 1960.

Working with his populist mentor, Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from the election, Faye declared their priorities in his victory speech: national reconciliation, easing a cost-of-living crisis and fighting corruption.

Born in 1980 in west-central Senegal’s Ndiaganiao, Faye met Sonko while working as a tax inspector in the government’s taxes and estates department, where they were instrumental in forming the Taxes and Estates Union.

According to Faye’s biography on his campaign website, he was often at the top of his class growing up. He graduated from high school on Senegal’s southern coast in 2000, then studied law and got a master’s degree from Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop University.

In 2004, the devout Muslim passed the competitive entrance exam to Senegal’s National School of Administration which trains the former French colony’s top civil servants, where he specialised as a tax inspector.

He was arrested in April 2023, a few months before Sonko was also held, and charged with contempt of court and defaming magistrates, charges Faye had denied. Crucially, unlike Sonko, he was not barred from running in elections.

Mr Faye and Mr Sonko have captivated young people by excoriating political elites, pledging to renegotiate contracts with oil and gas companies, and promising “monetary sovereignty” signalling a departure from the popular CFA even though they’ve toned down on its implementation.

Faye wants to leave the regional CFA franc, which he sees as a French colonial legacy and invest more in agriculture to reach food self-sufficiency.

As he vowed to restore national sovereignty over key assets including the oil, gas and fishing sector, Faye has also reassured investors that Senegal “will remain a friendly country and a sure and reliable ally for any partner that engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation.”

On the international stage, Faye seeks to bring military-run Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger back into the fold of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc.

The new Senegalese President is married with two wives, Marie Khone and Absa. The first wife, Marie, is a mother of four children, 3 boys and a girl. The second wife, Absa, has no child yet.

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