Change afoot for Senegal as Bassirou Diomaye Faye readies for power

Five days after Senegal's landmark presidential vote, elected leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye is getting ready for a swift transition – promising to overhaul the way the country is run.

Outgoing president Macky Sall held his last government meeting in the capital Dakar this week with both Faye and fellow opposition figure Ousmane Sonko.

Sall's last-minute postponement of the vote and the ensuing rushed electoral timetable had cast doubt over whether the handover could take place before the end of his term on 2 April.

A swift transfer of power in Senegal, described as a beacon of democracy in West Africa, would help build stability in the coup-hit region.

Faye and his team, formed from members of the Pastef party, say they're be ready for next week's handover, which is rumoured to happen the day Sall steps down.

The president-elect has said he will form his first government on 5 April – the day after Senegal celebrates its independence from France.

'Surprise' win

"Faye's victory took many by surprise," security analyst Babacar Ndiaye, from the Timbuktu Institute, told RFI. "The days after the election have been really peaceful so it's a success for democracy."

Faye's win largely came about because of people's anger against Sall's autocratic and oppressive drift, Ndiaye added.

Now he and Sonko must deliver the change they promised.

Having never held elected office, Faye is set to become the fifth president of Senegal, which has a population of around 18 million people.

Faye's presidency could herald a profound overhaul of Senegal's institutions.

Read more on RFI English

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From prisoner to president: Bassirou Diomaye Faye to become Senegal’s youngest leader
The long path to Senegal's troubled presidential elections