Senegal’s new President appoints political mentor Prime Minister

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President Bassirou Faye, left, and his mentor, Sonko, right.

44-year-old new President Bassirou Faye of Senegal has appointed his 49-year-old political mentor, Ousmane Sonko as Prime Minister of the country.

In his first remarks on Wednesday following his appointment, Sonko pledged full support to President Faye.

Sonko, a fierce critic of former PresidentMacky Sall, commands significant support among the country’s youth despite being barred from the recent presidential election due to a defamation conviction, which he vehemently denies.

The duo campaigned under the banner “Diomaye is Sonko,” with Sonko rallying his followers to throw their weight behind Faye, who emerged victorious with over 54% of the vote in the first round of elections.

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Faye’s inauguration took place on Tuesday, cementing the new leadership’s ascent to power.

In his first remarks following his appointment, Sonko pledged full support to Faye, emphasizing his intention to present a comprehensive list of ministerial candidates for Faye’s consideration.

“There will be no question of leaving him (Faye) alone to assume this heavy responsibility,” Sonko asserted, highlighting their collaborative approach to governance.

Sonko’s rise to prominence was not without tumult. At 49 years old, he endured a protracted legal battle with the state, which culminated in his disqualification from the presidential race.

Nonetheless, he strategically endorsed Faye as his replacement on the ballot, further solidifying their political alliance.

Both Faye and Sonko were among several opposition figures released from incarceration just 10 days before the presidential election, following an amnesty declaration by former President Sall, who had faced mounting pressure amid escalating political tensions.

Addressing the nation, President Faye acknowledged the sacrifices made during years of political turbulence, expressing his commitment to honouring the memory of those who suffered.

He also underscored Senegal’s commitment to fostering trade relations that respect national sovereignty and align with the aspirations of its citizens.

 

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