Senegal Ex-President Party Backs Main Opposition Before Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Senegal’s main opposition secured the backing of a key rival ahead of the Sunday presidential elections, a potential game changer in a contest that many have considered too close to call.

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Former President Abdoulaye Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party urged its supports to vote for Bassirou Diomaye Faye — widely considered the main challenger to the ruling coalition’s candidate Amadou Ba. Seventeen other contenders are also vying to succeed President Macky Sall.

“Our party has chosen to support the Diomaye Faye Coalition in the ballot on Sunday,” Wade, who now serves as the secretary-general of his party, which is known by its French acronym PDS, said in a statement on Friday.

The PDS’s presidential hopeful Karim Wade, the ex-president’s son, who was disqualified from standing because the courts ruled that he held French citizenship at the time, also endorsed Faye on social media platform X.

The party remains divided with PDS factions supporting both Ba and Idrissa Seck, a former prime minister.

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Faye became the main opposition’s flagbearer after its firebrand leader Ousmane Sonko was disqualified from standing following his conviction on libel charges. The two were among a group of political prisoners who were freed last week under an amnesty law.

To win the presidency, a candidate needs an outright majority, failing which the two contenders who garner the most votes will square off in a second round next month. More than 7 million people have registered to vote.

(Updates with detail throughout.)

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