Senegal: President Diomaye Faye appoints Ousmane Sonko as prime minister

President Diomaye Faye appoints Ousmane Sonko
Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye (R) gestures next to Ousmane Sonko new Prime Minister of Senegal.

On Tuesday, 44-year-old Bassirou Diomaye Faye became Senegal’s youngest elected leader, assuming the presidency following an extraordinary ascent from prison to the palace in just a few weeks.

Amid a backdrop of coups and attempted coups in neighbouring regions, Senegal’s status as a stable democracy in West Africa was put to the test in the recent election.

Shortly before the election, Faye and his mentor, the renowned opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, were released from prison, and Faye quickly rose to power. Their release came after President Macky Sall, who was leaving office, announced a political amnesty.

Fears that Sall may attempt to run for reelection despite constitutional term limitations sparked the large demonstrations that followed Faye and Sonko’s imprisonment. The demonstrations resulted in multiple arrests and casualties, according to human rights organisations.

In his inaugural address, President Faye honoured the lives lost and detainees from the protests while promising to steer Senegal towards more independence and economic growth.

Former tax inspector Faye promised to appease the disenchanted youth of Senegal by changing the country’s structure, a sentiment shared by the electorate. This is a common feeling across Africa, where the younger generation is becoming more and more critical of politicians who they believe hold onto power for too long.


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