Senegal: Faye – 15 Things to Know About Senegal’s 44-Year-Old President-Elect

Bassirou Diomaye Faye has emerged as Senegal’s President-elect after an unprecedented victory at the presidential election on Sunday, March 24, 2024.

Provisional results showed the opposition candidate, Faye had about 53.7%, while former Prime Minister and ruling coalition’s candidate, Amadou Ba, secured 36.2% based on tallies from 90% of polling stations in the first-round vote, according to the electoral commission.

Giving his first acceptance speech, Faye said, “In electing me, the Senegalese people have decided on a break with a past. I promise to govern with humility and transparency.”

Both incumbent President Macky Sall and his anointed candidate, Ba have congratulated Faye.

Faye, the 44-year-old politician is set to become the fifth President of Senegal on April 2, 2024, when he will be sworn in.

Here are 15 amazing things to know about Faye:

1. Faye was born on 25 March 1980 in Ndiaganiao in the western department of M’Bour, Thies, Senegal.

2. He was the former General-Secretary of the dissolved political party, PASTEF, (Patriotes africains du Sénégal pour le travail, l’éthique et la fraternité), meaning the African Patriots of Senegal for Work, Ethics and Fraternity, founded in 2014 by Ousmane Sonko.

3. In 2000, Faye earned his baccalaureate and successfully attained a master’s degree in law and subsequently cleared both competitive exams, enrolling at the National School of Administration (ENA) and the magistracy in 2004.

4. After graduation, he became a tax inspector in the Tax and Estates department, where he met Sonko, a fellow alum from the same school.

5. Faye and Sonko’s friendship grew closer in 2014, in the Taxes and Estates Union, created by Sonko, and at this time, Faye campaigned to facilitate homeownership for tax and property agents.

6. Sonko, PASTEF leader and Senegal’s main opposition leader endorsed Faye as a presidential candidate in November 2023, following uncertainty over the possibility of Sonko contesting, despite the dissolution of PASTEF several months earlier.

7. Faye spent more than 11 months in prison for a Facebook post that authorities deemed subversive, and regained freedom just 10 days before the presidential election, and still won.

8. Following his endorsement by Sonko, on 15 March 2024, a day after his release from jail, Faye gathered hundreds of supporters at his first public appearance as a presidential contender.

9. Former President Abdoulaye Wade and his Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) endorsed Faye on the same day, in a boost to his chances of winning the election.

10. During the presidential campaign, Faye promised to create jobs, campaigned strongly against corruption, and vowed to reexamine energy contracts, running under the slogan “Diomaye mooy Ousmane”, which means “Diomaye is Ousmane” in Wolof, as he hoped Sonko’s charisma and popular would appeal to Senegal’s youth for his victory at the pools.

11. He was one of Sonko’s trusted allies and personal friends and also became popular with Senegalese youths who desired a breakaway from Sall’s government.

12. On April 14, 2023, Faye was apprehended as he exited his tax and property office on Rue de Thiong in Dakar, and was consequently placed under police custody for charges including “spreading false news, contempt of court, and defamation of a constituted body” following a social media post he made.

14. When Faye, Sonko, and others were released from prison by incumbent President Macky Sall on 14 March, days before the election, Faye began campaigns including vows to fight the “French economic stranglehold” over Senegal.

15. Faye is a tax inspector and lawyer by profession, and has two wives – Marie Khone and Absa, with four children.

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